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Names

Today, the school is known as the University of Massachusetts Amherst1), and athletic teams are known as the Minutemen and Minutewomen2). However, since the school's inception in 1863, many name changes have occurred.

School name history

NamePeriod
Massachusetts Agricultural College3)1863-1931
Massachusetts State College4)1931-47
University of Massachusetts Amherst5)1947-present

Usage of "Amherst"

The University of Massachusetts is technically a system of colleges across the Commonwealth, including Boston, Lowell, Dartmouth, and Worcester, with Amherst as the lead/founding campus.6) To distinguish the Amherst campus from others in the UMass system, “Amherst” is often used in the name. Examples:
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
UMass-Amherst

Athletic teams at UMass-Amherst typically do not use Amherst within the name, operating solely as “University of Massachusetts”, “UMass”, or “Massachusetts”7). This is similar to how the state universities in Illinois or Texas operate their teams. Texas does not refer to their primary campus athletic teams as Texas-Austin, nor does Illinois refer to their teams as Illinois-Champaign. Other campuses in the UMass system do use their local names when referring to athletics (UMass Lowell8), UMass Boston9)), but the Amherst campus typically does not.

Athletic mascot name history

NamePeriod
Aggies / Statesmen10)inception-1947
Redmen11)1947-72
Minutemen12)1972-present

The precise timing of transition between Aggies to Statesmen to Redmen is not fully documented. However, Minutemen has been the term since the 1972-73 academic year.13)

Successors to Minutemen

There have been multiple points when replacing the Minutemen mascot was discussed.

  • In the late 1980s / early 1990s, objections to the Minuteman were raised, and a small group even started a hunger strike to protest the use14)15), seemingly disregarding the historical connections of the Minutemen to Massachusetts history and the Revolutionary War. UMass administrators encouraged dialogue of replacing the Minutemen, but then backed down after vocal protests from alumni.
  • In 2003, the UMass Athletic Department flirted with the idea of replacing the Minutemen mascot.16) Debate was lively, and “Gray Wolves” was a leading contender as a replacement. However, the idea was ultimately dropped and Minutemen was retained. There was some suggestion that the replacement notion itself was simply a marketing ploy to redesign the visual logo and sell new/more UMass-themed merchandise.17)
names.txt · Last modified: 2017/10/03 22:19 (external edit)