UMD Mascot Nearly Burned in Fire

One of the traditions at the University of Maryland, College Park, is that students place things around the campus mascot for good luck. The mascot’s name is Testudo, and is a bronze statue that weighs approximately half a ton. Authorities say that sometime after midnight when one of the offerings left caught on fire. This was witnessed by several people who used Twitter to spread the word. As of Wednesday morning, it wasn’t exactly clear how the fire started, but the UMCP President Wallace Loh decided to go on Twitter to reassure everyone that Testudo had not been harmed in the incident. This was good news for the students and the faculty of the university, many of whom had been concerned about whether or not the mascot had been destroyed.

“I am happy to report that there was no damage to Testudo in front of McKeldin. Testudo is ready to continue supporting our #UMD community!” Came the 140 character tweet from President Wallace Loh. The statue has been around for a very long time. In fact, it was originally cast more than eighty years ago in 1933. In the past, the statue of Testudo had fallen victims to pranks before. In fact, there are several detailed in a UMP history of the statue. Here is an excerpt of that history: “At first, Testudo had his perch in front of Ritchie Coliseum. Unfortunately, this relatively open spot soon became the scene of multiple crimes against the unguarded mascot, including painting, defacing the pedestal, and kidnapping. In 1947, when Testudo was captured by Johns Hopkins students, many Maryland students rushed to Baltimore and laid siege the building where the mascot was held

testudoThe incident with the riot had around 200 people officers trying to control it, and the so-called siege quickly became a party according to the histories of the time. Testudo has gone through many different incidents. Once, the University of Virginia had to call UMCP’s then football coach Dr. Byrd, who is now President of UMCP, to “get Testudo off of their law.” At one point, Testudo, who is filled with more than seven hundred pounds of cement, was located inside of Byrd Stadium. Besides leaving the offerings, which this time somehow caught on fire, students will also follow another tradition, especially in times of important games or finals week – rubbing Testudo’s nose for luck.