The Eagle nickname and mascot for Boston College's
teams were born through the eloquence of Rev. Edward McLaughlin.
Fr. McLaughlin, incensed at a Boston newspaper cartoon depicting the champion
BC track team as a cat licking clean a plate of its rivals, penned a passionate
letter to the student newspaper, The Heights, in the newspaper's first
year in 1920. "It is important that we adopt a mascot to preside
at our pow-wows and triumphant feats," wrote Fr. McLaughlin. "And
why not the Eagle, symbolic of majesty, power, and freedom? Its natural
habitat is the high places. Surely the Heights is made to order for
such a selection. Proud would the B.C. man feel to see the B.C. Eagle
snatching the trophy of victory from old opponents, their tattered banner
clutched in his talons as he flies aloft."
And so it was. The eagle was adopted
as mascot and nickname that same year. The national attention that
followed brought gifts of two live mascots, from Texas and New Mexico,
but neither bird found Chestnut Hill to its liking - one escaped and the
other injured its beak trying.
For some 40 years, the Boston College mascot
was a stuffed and mounted golden eagle that resided in the athletic department
offices. But in 1961, a committee of students launched an effort
to find a live Aquila chrysaetos to represent BC. Thus, the era of
Margo [a combination of the first letters
of the school colors] was a 10-pound, two-month old female golden eagle
given to the University by a Colorado man in August 1961. For five
years, the bird lived at the Franklin Park Zoo, attended every BC home
contest tethered to a sizeable perch, and even made the traveling squad
for games against Army, Holy Cross, and Syracuse. Its reign ended
unhappily early in the 1966 season when it succumbed to a virus just before
a road trip to Annapolis for a game against Navy.
By that time, the status of the eagle as an
endangered species made it undesirable to replace Margo. The University
soon opted to fill the void by following a national sports trend: using
a costumed human mascot to roam the sidelines and exhort the Eagles faithful.