Q&A with Chuck Sherman ’66
For Chuck Sherman ’66, the “Big Green” isn’t a suitable symbol for Dartmouth. His take? Why not a moose! Although the “Big Green” has become the de facto representation for Dartmouth athletics since replacing the Indian in the early 1970s, the College has never officially adopted a mascot. Sherman, a retired policy researcher at the National Institutes of Health and a regular at Dartmouth football games, hopes to change that.
In an interview with The Dartmouth, Sherman discussed his support for the Dartmouth moose mascot and his vast personal collection of moose-related memorabilia: the “Mooseum.”
What are your thoughts on Dartmouth's current unofficial nickname, the Big Green?
I think it's lame to cheer for a wavelength of light. To cheer for PMS 349 [the specific color known as “Dartmouth Green”] doesn't cut it for me.
How long have you been advocating for the Dartmouth moose? How would you describe your level of advocacy, in terms of impact or scope?
CS: I haven't been pushing that hard for it. I'd say I've been a passive advocate. As you can probably tell, I wear my moose hat to football games and with others who have their own hats. I'll support the team, but I'll cheer for the "Big Green Moose." And I might make a fool of myself, but that's alright.
Why is a moose the best mascot for Dartmouth?
CS: They have four legs, like most mascots. They can be portrayed as humorous or strong and ambitious.
The moose is the icon of New Hampshire wilderness. It should be Dartmouth’s, and as luck would have it, no other premier school has tried to adopt it.
Do you have any details in mind about the design or the name of the moose if it becomes a mascot?
CS: The "Big Green Moose" seems to fit. I know the former Dean of Student Life, Joe Cassidy, actually got a trademark of a drawing of the moose mascot.
What's the significance of having a mascot?
CS: It makes it more fun to come to games — it gives us an identity. Army has its mule, and Navy has a goat. There are bears and lions, tigers — like the Princeton Tigers — and bears — oh my! So why not a moose?
Why do you think Dartmouth has not taken substantial action to try and establish an official mascot?
CS: I think they were afraid of people who missed the Indian. There aren't many of them left. So I think they can rest today and move forward to adopt a mascot. I don't know why it's been suppressed.
How receptive do you think members of the Dartmouth community are to adopting the moose? Are there any sources who feel strongly against adopting it?
CS: I think there might be people who would prefer an alternative mascot. Keggy comes up if you Google "Dartmouth mascot." You come up with Keggy and the moose.
Keggy is on my question list actually. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
CS: It's fun. Although the office of “Safety and Sobriety” might not like him. The original Keggy outfit was originally made around a hiking pack frame. And so I think the outdoor people at that time supported Keggy. I think today they would support a moose. Although, those with a sense of humor still like Keggy. I talked with Keggy one time — he said he was asked if he drinks beer, and he said, "No, that would be cannibalism." I've always assumed he's a keg of Moosehead [a popular Canadian beer].
I'd love to ask a couple of questions about your "Mooseum." How long have you been collecting moose-related memorabilia?
CS: It just grew. Classmates and friends and colleagues would think of me during their vacations and buy something at the gift shop and bring it back, I guess. I don't know how long it's been.
The clutter got organized to some degree, or at least collected for the first time when my niece came to visit in 2017. She came up with the idea. One of my favorite presents, from a classmate's wife, is a large moose ceramic cookie jar that we keep the milk bones in for the dogs.
What would you say to any students who are looking to advocate for the adoption of the moose mascot? What do you recommend they do?
CS: That's a question of strategy. I'd be happy to chat with them and talk with someone familiar with campaign strategies, come up with a strategy and get some approval in advance from whatever the authority that may be. But I don't even know if that's necessary. Just do it.
Is it the students' choice? Is it the alumni's choice? Is it the teams' choice, the Trustees' choice? I think it boils down to the students. I think it's their college.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.