Southern suns and sky blue water,
Smile upon you Alma mater;
Mistress of this fruitful land,
With all knowledge at your hand,
Always just to honor true,
All our love we pledge to you.
Alma Mater, stand forever
On Biscayne’s wondrous shore.
It began in controversy. Some reports say the 1927 football team held a team meeting to select Hurricanes, hoping they would sweep away opponents just as the devastating storm did on September 16, 1926. Another version holds that Miami News columnist Jack Bell asked end Porter Norris of the 1926 team what the team should be called. Told that the local dignitaries and University officials wanted to name the team for a local flora or fauna, Norris said the players wouldn’t stand for it and suggested “Hurricanes” since the opening game had been postponed by such a storm. From time to time, opposition has arisen to the name that would “reinforce Miami’s negative reputation as a weather-beaten community living constantly under the threat of destruction.” But as one UM official rationalized in the 60’s, “Does anyone think Chicago is overrun by bears just because the town has a football team by that name?
Folklore maintains that the Ibis, a symbol of knowledge found in the Everglades and Egypt, is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane and the first to reappear after the storm. The local marsh bird was considered UM’s first unofficial mascot when the school yearbook adopted the name “Ibis” in 1926. Its popularity grew among the students during the 50’s. In 1957 San Sebastian Hall, a residence hall on campus, sponsored an Ibis entry in the homecoming celebration. The next year, student John Stormont performed at games in an Ibis costume that was glued, sewn and pinned together and was the forerunner of today’s bird. Through the years, the Ibis has become one of the most recognizable college mascots in the United States.
In 1973, UM’s Athletic Federation, the fund raising arm of the athletic department at the the time, commissioned a local public relations expert to develop a distinctive logo. The University had gone several years with a variety of helmet and uniform changes and the Federation noted that a number of major colleges have the initials UM. Miami designer Bill Bodenheimer suggested the “U” idea, which lent itself to slogans.