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SPIRIT resting.png
Gender Male
Dallas Texas Zoo
Seneca Park Zoo
Occupation Mascot
Alma mater Rochester Institute of Technology

SPIRIT (an abbreviation for Student Pride In RIT) was a bengal tiger purchased by a group of students at RIT to serve as the university's mascot.


Share of School Spirit
Share of School Spirit and Tradition

In 1963, a group of RIT students decided to organize a committee to plan the purchase of a live tiger to serve as the RIT mascot. They called the group the Tiger Committee and presented their proposal to A. Stephen Walls, then the Director of Student Activities. Mr. Walls found the idea intriguing and contacted the Seneca Park Zoo to see what doing it would entail. Louis DiSabato, the Director of the Zoo, informed them that only a licensed facility could purchase a tiger, but if the students were able to raise the money the Zoo would be willing to purchase and take care of the animal.

The cost of a bengal tiger cub at the time was $1,000. The Tiger Committee decided that they would try to raise the money by selling $1 shares of "school spirit and tradition" to students, staff, faculty and others.

The fundraiser proved successful and in October 1963 the tiger that would later be named SPIRIT was purchased from the Dallas Texas Zoo. His arrival on campus on October 30, 1963 was a major event, with over 50 people forming a motorcade to the airport to greet the tiger as he got off the plane.

Working year

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Upon SPIRIT's death, RIT skinned the tiger. His pelt is now located in the RIT Archives on the third floor of the Wallace Library.


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External links