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.Source: http://www.miami.edu/index.php/about_us/achievements_and_traditions/traditions/
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.