HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Today, students at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) brand themselves as the Golden Eagles, but that wasn’t always the case. Throughout the decades, the school’s mascot was changed multiple times.

According to the school, early USM athletics teams were dubbed the Tigers and the Normalites. In 1924, the school mascot was changed for the first time to the Yellow Jackets.

As the school’s name was changed to Mississippi Southern College in 1940, it was also time for a mascot change. The student body voted to change the school’s mascot to the Confederates the same year. It didn’t stick around for long, though. In 1941, the Confederates became the Southerners. A face was given to the name next. In 1953, General Nathan Bedford Forrest was approved as the Southerners’ mascot.

Today’s mascot was chosen by a committee in 1972. Students, faculty and alumni were asked to submit their ideas for a new mascot. The committee landed on the Golden Eagles. Other options included the Raiders, War Lords, Timber Wolves and Southerners.

The Golden Eagles are represented by Seymour, whose full name is Seymour d’Campus. The school notes that this name came from the 1984 World’s Fair mascot, Seymour d’Fair, who was played by former Southern Miss mascot Jeff Davis ’83.

It’s been 50 years since USM’s mascot was last changed. Will students continue to call themselves the Golden Eagles or will Seymour fly away from the school one day?