If you haven’t yet heard through the grapevine, I have accepted a position…really two positions in one. I will be an Assistant Professor at Southern Arkansas University and the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Research Station Archeologist in Magnolia, Arkansas.
When I was doing my “homework” before going to the interview at SAU, I found out that the university mascot was a mulerider! This, of course, peaked my curiosity. What exactly was this mascot referring to and how did it become the symbol of SAU?
Thankfully, the SAU website was nice enough to provide some answers (yeah…I love to get into institutional histories wherever I go).
Southern Arkansas University started out as the Third District Agricultural School (TDAS) and was founded in 1909 “to educate rural youth of the region and to promote better agriculture practices”…Also referred to as “Magnolia A&M,” they were known originally as “Aggies” (Thank God, for the change….I think they’d revoke my membership to the Texas Exes if I became an Aggie).
But Magnolia was not at a railhead and (at least on a few occasions) the players rode the livestock to the railroad in order to ride to games with other schools (it WAS, after all, an agricultural school). Thus, the team was proclaimed “the Muleriders.” The mascot was officially adopted in the 1920s.
A mascot with a class chip on its shoulder…turning what could be a mark of shame into a badge of honor….Now, that’s my kinda mascot!