By Fatima Magana '22
ALLIANCE- Learn more about the history of the bird who cheers on our Purple Raiders daily! Whether at basketball or football games, cheerleading clinics, or anywhere in between, MUcaw is Mount Union’s biggest fan.
For 30 years MUcaw, the big purple macaw parrot created by Harry Paidas, vice president for public affairs back in 1993 has brightened up faculty, staff, and students’ days on campus. Wearing its “Raiders” jersey, MUcaw spreads purple spirit anywhere it steps foot at.
When naming MUcaw, the idea arose from a similarity between our purple parrot and macaw, a South American parrot of which some species are purple. Although questioning what a bird had in relation with Mount Union, it was instantly loved by the Mount Union community when it first appeared at Homecoming in 1994.
“[A bird] was not my first choice. I wanted a one-eyed, one-horn, flying purple people-eater, but the concept drawing was frightening,” said Paidas in a past article.
Stephanie Unckrich, Mount Union Cheer Coach from 1993-2006, and 2022-present, explained that everyone thought that “MUcaw” was an acronym for “Mount Union College Always Wins,” however that was not why the purple parrot was given its name.
From children to students, faculty to fans, everyone enjoys greeting MUcaw at athletic and campus events and getting to take a pictures with it.
MUcaw was designed in Pennsylvania, fitting the drawing that we submitted to align with the friendliness of campus,” said Unckrich. “Everyone looks for MUcaw at athletic and university events—That is how loved the bird is.”
Unckrich added that there is a leadership scholarship offered to the student who takes on the role of Mount Union’s beloved mascot which started in 2017. MUcaw’s appearances at certain events are dependent on the student’s schedule, but it has been to swimming meets and wrestling matches as well.