Games > Mascots
The Columbia Lion
It may surprise you to learn that before 1910, Columbia had no official mascot. So how did we end up with a lion? At the April 9, 1910 meeting of the College Alumni Association, George Brokaw Compton of the Class of 1909, made his debut in alumni affairs by urging the adoption of a Columbia mascot and suggesting it should be a lion. The proposal was enthusiastically adopted at the meeting and then the arguments, both pro and con, began.
Back and forth discussion played out in the pages of The Spectator and alumni publications for about a month. Some thought the lion was too closely tied to British imperialism, while others thought an eagle or Matilda the Harlem Goat (pictured below) would be better choices. In response to the British imperialism arguments, Compton retorted with, “We have the King’s Crown, let us have the King’s Lion.” On May 4, 1910, the Student Board ended all the controversy when they voted to make the Lion the official mascot of Columbia.
Matilda the Harlem Goat
In the early 1900s, Matilda the Goat lived with Patrick Riley on a farm on the northeast corner of