The Only Peacock in America

As a postscript to our NJ Higher Ed mascot puzzle, here is a tidbit about the only school in the United States to have the peacock as its mascot.

Saint Peter’s College is the only NCAA Division I institution whose mascot is the peacock. This choice was made for several reasons. Primarily, the land on which Saint Peter’s now stands was once owned by a man named Michael Pauw, whose last name means “peacock” in Dutch. His extensive holdings included most of Hudson County and were part of the Pavonia, New Netherland settlement.
In pagan mythology, the peacock is considered to be a symbol of rebirth, much like the phoenix. For Saint Peter’s, it is a reference to the closing and reopening of the college in the early 20th century.
At one point in the 1960s, live peacocks roamed the campus.

Many institutions within the college derive their name from the peacock:
• The school newspaper is titled the Pauw Wow.
• The literary magazine is titled the Pavan.
• The school’s yearbook is titled the Peacock Pie.
• The drama society calls itself Argus Eyes, in reference to Argus “Panoptes”, who, according to Greek mythology, had his 100 eyes preserved by Hera in the tail of the peacock.
• One of the major dining facilities is named the Pavonia Room.

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