Chatham News

Athletics’ mascot gets a new name

By: Lindsey Hyre, Athletic Department
March 31, 2011

PITTSBURGH (March 31, 2011) . . . The official name of the Chatham University mascot, the Cougar, was revealed to the campus community yesterday. The Cougars’ first name will be Carson, in honor of Rachel Carson, the University’s most distinguished alumna.

Carson, who graduated in 1929 from what was then known as the Pennsylvania College for Women, was best known for her contribution to environmental issues such as the impact of toxic chemicals on the earth. She died at the age of 56 from breast cancer, just two years after publishing her seminal book, Silent Spring, detailing these issues.

Chatham established the Rachel Carson Institute in 1989 to continue Carson’s legacy by promoting the awareness and understanding of significant and current environmental issues through national and regional conferences, debates, lecture series, seminars, panel discussions, and other educational programs. Carson continues to serve as a role model in the sciences, advocacy, and environmental fields worldwide, and her name will now cheer on the university’s nine varsity athletic teams as the first official name for the Cougar mascot for Chatham.

The Cougar became the mascot for the school’s athletic programs soon after Dr. Esther Barazzone became President of Chatham in 1992. According to official records, the University’s mascot officially became the Cougar in December 1995, just as Chatham was beginning the process of becoming an official member of the NCAA. Prior to this, the school’s mascot was a seal named Pennsy, who first appeared in 1946.

In fall 1997 Chatham became a full member of the NCAA, and officially joined the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in fall 2007.

The “Name the Cougar Challenge” has been an on-going process for the past month. Students, faculty, and staff around campus nominated over 150 possible names for the Cougar. The field was narrowed from 150 to 14 nominations and these names were voted upon by the Chatham community. The winning name, Carson, was officially unveiled yesterday, March 30th, after the softball contest against Penn State University-New Kensington, which ended in a 10-4 victory for the Cougars.

“I am thrilled that the campus community has come together with such support to choose a first name for our mascot. This particular name honors Chatham’s past as well as brings new excitement to our future,” Athletic Director David Zinn commented.

“I can’t think of a better choice than having Carson for our mascot’s name. It is great to see campus spirit be so alive at Chatham,” remarked Zauyah Waite, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Every Chatham student – women in Chatham’s historic women’s residential college, and men and women in Chatham’s graduate programs – receives a highly individualized, experiential educational experience that is informed by Chatham’s strong institutional commitment to globalism, the environment and citizen leadership. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with Chatham Eastside and the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum, and the 388-acre Eden Hall Farm Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information call 800-837-1290 or visit