Who is Testudo and Why do Smith Students Rub His Nose?
If you visit one of our Part Time MBA campuses, you will see a large turtle hanging out nearby. But why? Well, that’s just Testudo. And it is VERY lucky to give his nose a little rub!
The original Testudo status stands in front of McKeldin Library on the College Park campus. It was the gift of the Class of 1933 whose members felt it was high time that that the University of Maryland had an official mascot.
According to the University Library, “Even though the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression, the 268 members of the class managed to gather enough funds for the sculpture by holding their prom on campus, rather than in a fancy hotel in downtown Washington, contributing their profits from the 1932 Reveille yearbook, cancelling the publication of the Old Line magazine, and gathering other donations. Student Government Association president Ralph Williams then took a live terrapin north to Providence, Rhode Island, by train to be captured in bronze by sculptor Aristide Cianfarani and the Gorham Manufacturing Co., which cast the statue.”
There are now six exact copies of the original statue on the College Park campus: outside the Comcast Center, inside the Stamp Student Union, on either side of the Gossett Football Team House, outside the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center, and most recently in the courtyard of Van Munching Hall.
The tradition of rubbing his nose for good luck has given the original Testudo statues quite a sheen. Starting the mid-90’s students even began leaving Testudo offerings at final exam time. It was typical to see all sorts of stuff sucks as food, soda, beer, poems, flowers and more!
Smaller statues of Testudo were added to each of our Part Time MBA campuses in Baltimore, Rockville, and Washington DC so our students could have easy access to that lucky nose! So next time you visit one of our Part Time MBA campuses, be sure to give our turtle a little love. He also likes selfies, but be sure to tag our Instagram account @SmithPTMBA when you share!
Learn more about the history of Testudo here: https://www.lib.umd.edu/macmil/testudo