McMelvin the Moose died a fiery death during 1957 homecoming.
As long as there is the spirit of spring, youth and McMelvin, there will be spirit at Trinity and McMelvin will be on the move.” - McMelvin’s epitath
Trinity has had many traditions over the years—some are still burning bright, some have flickered away slowly, and some went up into flames—literally.
McMelvin the Moose, despite his name, was a mounted and stuffed caribou head that cultivated quite the following on campus in the mid-1950s. The “symbol of student dissent,” according to Trinity history professor Donald Everett, became the unofficial mascot of Trinity and the object of many kidnappings.
“McMelvin represented in the minds of his custodians an expression of student dissent more common on the Trinity campus in the mid-sixties than a decade earlier.” - Donald E. Everett, Trinity University: A Record of 100 Years
Three students picked McMelvin up from a garage behind the Bexar County Medical Library, and soon the caribou became the object of a vigorously defended water fight, in which one of his owners received a wound to the scalp that required six stitches. That fight set off a torrent of kidnappings, the first originating from the Triniteers in reprisal against the Blue Saints, who had stolen the Triniteers’ homecoming float award. After that, McMelvin became the object of many raids on campus. Among his various escapades during his life as a campus celebrity, McMelvin served as a drying rack for women’s clothing and was also restrained by chains in an attempt to thwart thefts.
Unfortunately, McMelvin met his demise too soon, being placed atop the homecoming bonfire in October 1957. What remained after the flames was only a small, broken piece of his antlers.
“Indeed, if there is any ‘spirit’ of McMelvinism it is one of individualism, skepticism toward the established authority and rebellion against the prevailing spirit of laziness, triteness and superficiality as demonstrated by most of the Trinity community.” - 1957 Trinitonian