Shippensburg University President Charles Patterson announced Big Red’s first mate Shippo the Hippo on Thursday, May 4. Students received an email Thursday morning with a letter and accompanying video from Patterson.
Initially being publicized as the replacement mascot on April Fool’s Day, Shippo garnered attention from students, alumni and local news outlets as he took “their rightful place as the university’s mascot,” according to Patterson in Thursday’s video. The video also featured photos and social media comments of support for both Big Red and Shippo the Hippo.
The announcement came two days before graduation during finals week. Christian McClain, first-year student, said learning about Shippo the Hippo “was the best way to end the semester.”
In 2005, Shippensburg University held a mascot madness competition to elect a new mascot. Big Red, the red-tailed hawk, won, and Shippo the Hippo placed runner-up. Urban legend has it that Shippo actually won the 2005 election.
In the 18 years since the mascot election, Shippo has remained the winner in many hearts. There is a brick outside Stewart Hall commemorating him. SU’s softball team has also been taking an “unofficial, unsanctioned stuffed hippo” to its recent games, according to Patterson.
In his statement about the mascots, Patterson clarified, “Big Red will always remain the captain of our Raider ship, a symbol for Raider Athletics and the personification of the university’s brand.” As Patterson said, however, “Every good captain needs a solid first mate.”
Further information about Big Red and Shippo the Hippo can be found at ship.edu/mascots. At this link, individuals can also purchase merchandise featuring Shippo the Hippo such as T-shirts, hoodies and a stuffed hippo toy. Fans of both mascots can follow each on Instagram @Ship_BigRed and @Ship_poTheHippo.
The Slate welcomes thoughtful discussion on all of our stories, but please keep comments civil and on-topic. Read our full guidelines here.