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Carls Are More Than Knights

Carls are known by many names, and Knights is just one of them.

Carls are known by many names, and Knights is just one of them.

When we were applying to college, my friends and I developed an infallible system to identify the best colleges. We called it the 3M (pronounced “triple-M” or “three-M”) method, and it referred to the three most important factors to consider in your college search: Menu, Merchandise, and Mascot.

*Please note that this is a joke and you should not, under any circumstances, base your college decision solely on these three criteria.*

Fans cheering on Knights at a Football game
Fans cheering on Carleton’s Knights at a football game earlier this year!

After I officially became a Carl, I took pleasure in teasing my friends about their college mascots. While some of them became chickens, hornets, or black bears (all more than respectable mascots!), I was to become a mighty Knight, and couldn’t be more excited!

So you can imagine my surprise when I arrived on campus in September and discovered that Carleton has not one, not two, not three, but four(!) other unofficial mascots. And, honestly, I like some of them better than the Knight.

Oscar the Penguin

You may already have seen penguins in a lot of our recruiting material or student organization logos. While there is technically no specific penguin that we consider our mascot, Oscar the Penguin definitely takes the spotlight. If you’ve had the opportunity to tour campus, you may have seen him proudly guarding our Library. Oscar is an emperor penguin brought from the Antarctic by Carleton’s fourth president, McKinley Gould (whom the library is named after!).

In addition, penguins are a perfect representation of your average Carl. They are kind, team workers, cute, and can survive long, almost unbearable winters! (I don’t know if you are aware, but it gets chilly up here.)

Campus Cats

Toff the Cat was our original campus cat. He used to roam the campus and became a celebrity amongst students, faculty, and staff. After his passing in 2011, a statue was built to honor his memory. Walking past his statue is one of my favorite things about studying in the Libe, especially since the staff is known for dressing him up for a variety of occasions.

After Toff passed away, a furry hole was left in the campus community. Introducing Lyman Bongo Bailey Openshaw. Although Lyman does have an owner and a place to call home, he likes to explore the campus and has been seen as far out as Goodhue! He is a favorite amongst Carls, and even has his own Facebook page!

Lyman the Cat taking an adorable nap
Here’s a picture of Lyman the Cat taking an adorable nap.


A student dressed as a cow welcoming new students during NSW
On move-in day, it is common to see at least one student welcoming new students and their families in a cow costume.

Did you know that Northfield’s slogan is “Cows, Colleges, and Contentment”? Well, it is just fitting that considering the town’s agricultural history, cows are a common mascot. Students are often seen wearing cow costumes, particularly on move-in day! The prize for the NOlympics winning team is a giant stuffed cow, the Office of Health Promotion gives away squishy cow stress reliever toys, and you may even get a plush cow from the spirit shop.


On campus, there is a plaster bust of the German poet Friedrich Schiller with a very complex history. I will not bore you with all of Schiller’s crazy adventures, but you can read about the bust’s fascinating journey here! It has become an essential element of campus lore and tradition, and has even made appearances in the hands of Bill Clinton and Stephen Colbert.

Today, “Schiller” is also the name of the campus currency, which you can spend in all of the on-campus cafes, as well as several places in town.

So… what is my favorite mascot?

Although I love all of them and learning about their bizarre histories is always fun, I must admit that the campus cat(s) holds a special place in my heart. In any case, I enjoy not being confined to one single mascot—there is a mascot for every type of Carl out there!

Fátima strives to learn everything about everything, but is especially interested in Sociology/AnthropologyPsychology, and Disney! As a freshman, she can’t wait to introduce her peers to her native Guatemalan culture, put in practice her newly acquired ASL skills, and play in the snow for the first time. In her free time, Fátima can be found watching cartoons, poorly playing the ukulele, or desperately missing her dog, Cosmo. Meet the other bloggers!