1979 at the Dragon’s Den
1990s with Mario’s namesake (at right)
Today, Drexel University’s mascot is a dragon named Mario — but he wasn’t always called Mario, and he wasn’t always a dragon.
Mario has only been “Mario,” or “Mario the Magnificent,” since 1997, and the Drexel Dragon has only been a Drexel Dragon since 1928 — before that, teams from the then-Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry were actually called “The Engineers.”
In the 90 or so years since the dragon was hatched at Drexel, the look of the mascot has changed a lot. We dove into the University Archives to show just how much.
In 1929, the Dragon made its debut at a pep rally before a big game, and a year later, was outfitted with the ability to emit smoke resembling the traditional fiery breath of the historic monsters. A few years later, this Dragon was updated to a lighter, safer version of a dragon, made of cloth. In the decades following, new versions were created, including one made out of pâpier-maché by a group of creative and enterprising fraternity brothers for a special event in 1962.
By the late ’70s, the Drexel Dragon mascot became animated — a tradition that continues to this day, with Drexel students stepping into Mario’s claws. The Dragon then wore a collegiate sweater featuring a big Drexel “D” over a jumpsuit-like costume with a hard mask, but then in 1997 when the Drexel Dragon was officially named Mario, he was outfitted in the Drexel navy and gold of today. The 2008 Mario starts to look more like today’s Mario — mostly navy, with cartoonish eyes, navy and gold wings that have slightly changed, a tongue that stays in his mouth and a more understated set of gold spikes on his back and tail.
Which Drexel Dragon do you remember?