October 5, 2007

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Sacramento State mascot turns 60 but
barely resembles any of his former selves

Herky turns 60
Herky celebrates his 60th birthday

Most things change as they get older, but Herky the Hornet, Sacramento State’s mascot, may have turned personal transformation into an art form. Herky turns 60 this year and while he hasn’t aged much, he bares scant resemblance to any of his former selves.

According to Herky’s homepage, Herky was created in 1947 by the first class at what was then Sacramento State College. That same class picked the University colors, green and gold.

It is thought that the name Herky is short for Hercules, but the original Herky was a skinny character with a large head that looked like a buckeye.

In the 60s, Herky began transforming. His homepage reports that, “Herky ranged from a tough-looking, anthropomorphic hornet to a jolly humanoid figure with antennas. His wings sometimes grew huge, and at other times disappeared altogether. It seemed nobody could decide if Herky was a human with hornet attributes or a hornet with a touch of humanity.”

In the 90s, the University developed and trademarked a Herky that looked like a cross between the Michelin Man and a very pleasant bee. It wasn’t widely adopted by the University, and other versions of Herky soon appeared.

The current Herky was introduced in 2000 after the University hired a sports marketing agency to design a modern, professional-looking logo to better represent the campus community and provide a strong and consistent image.

The new Herky is a tough-looking character with a devious smile and six-pack abs. He can occasionally be seen around campus and always at the games. Over time it’s a sure bet he’ll change again, but, in Herky’s case, getting older seems to mean getting better.

Herky’s birthday celebration is part of Sacramento State’s Homecoming celebration, Oct. 8-13.

For more information, and to view photos of Herky throughout the years, visit www.csus.edu/pubaf/herky/history2.html. For information on homecoming week, contact the Sacramento State Alumni Association, (916) 278-6295. For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.