The Story of the MIT Athletics Brand
Developing its roots as a Technology-based university, there has been no real indication when the obvious moniker of Engineers was first used to describe MIT's athletic teams. The earliest references in publication coincide with MIT's beginnings in organized varsity athletics around the turn of the 20th century. By 1920, every varsity team affectionately referred to themselves as the Engineers. The term Tech is even older, and dates back to at least the 1880's when the Institute was simply known as Technology to outsiders.
The Beaver was chosen as the mascot of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology because of its remarkable engineering and mechanical skills and habits of industry. The proposal that the beaver be adapted as the official mascot of the Institute was made at the annual dinner of the Technology Club of New York on January 17, 1914. Then-President Dr. Richard McLauren formally accepted the proposal delivered by Lester D. Gardner '98, as a group of Beavers shown in natural surroundings was presented to the Institute.
Alfred T. Waite '79, chaired a committee created in February, 1876, for the express purpose of selecting a suitable color combination for the Institute. Examining many possibilities, the MIT school colors of Cardinal Red and Silver Gray were adopted in May, 1876. Cardinal Red stood for a thousand years on land and sea in England's emblem; it makes one-half of the stripes on America's flag; it has always stirred the heart and mind of man; and it stands for 'red blood' and all that `red blood' stands for in life. The Gray was chosen to evoke the quiet virtues of modesty and persistency and gentleness, which appealed to the mind of the committee as powerful.