In 1910, Columbia chose the lion as its official mascot. While you might be nodding along with that decision (and why not? Lions are pretty badass), we invite you to consider one word before solidifying your opinion: Matilda. And if you need a second word: goat.
Matilda was a goat who lived with squatter Patrick Riley on 120th Street and Amsterdam. Because an on-campus goat is pretty much as good as it gets, Columbia students would often use Matilda for pranks and the like. When the time came to choose a mascot in 1910, a large contingency voted for “Matilda the Harlem Goat” as the official face of Columbia University. And when you look at a face like this, it’s clear to see why—that poise! That majesty! Just imagine a world in which “Roar, Lion, Roar” was “Bleet, ‘Tilda, Bleet.” That world could have been a reality. Alas, alas!
Although Matilda did not end up as our mascot, her legacy lives on. Matilda was featured in a children’s book (which, sadly, we could not find) and even a song. Our beautiful goat-friend died in 1914 and was stuffed, leading to a massive outpouring of grief from the Columbia community. While Matilda was initially displayed in the window of a drugstore on 120th Street, plans were made in 1960 to donate Matilda to the New York Historical Society. However, as WikiCu puts it, “Matilda’s fate is unknown.” And thus begins the greatest goat-hunt in history! Bwog is offering a
six pack sizable reward to anyone who is able to track down Matilda and her goaty awesomeness. Operation Matilda 2014 begins now.
To illustrate why Matilda would have made such a good mascot, here’s a list of attributes that goats and Columbians share:
So there you have it. Matilda would, definitively and unarguably, be the greatest mascot ever.
Matilda, hero of my heart, via Shutterstock