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University Of Florida Albert E. And Alberta Gator

March 25, 2012 by staff 

University Of Florida Albert E. And Alberta Gator, Albert E. Gator and Alberta Gator are the official mascots of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Costumed in plush, Albert and Alberta are anthropomorphic representations of American alligators.
The modern University of Florida was created when the Florida Legislature passed the Buckman Act in 1905, which dissolved the state’s existing public institutions of higher education, and consolidated the faculty and academic programs of four predecessor institutions in the new “University of the State of Florida.”

After operating on the Lake City campus of one of its predecessor’s during the 1905-1906 academic year, the modern university occupied its current campus in Gainesville, Florida in September 1906, and fielded its first official intercollegiate sports team (football) that autumn.

Early in its existence, the football team adopted orange and blue as its official colors, representing a combination of the orange and black colors of the former Florida Agricultural College in Lake City and the blue and white colors of the former East Florida Seminary in Gainesville, the modern university’s two oldest predecessors. The football team did not initially have an official nickname or mascot, and was often referred to as the “Orange and Blue” or “Pee Wee’s Boys,” after the team’s first head coach, Jack “Pee Wee” Forsythe.

In 1908, local merchant Phillip Miller and his son Austin Miller incidentally, and with no official sanction from the unviersity or athletic association, selected the alligator as an emblem to represent the university on pennants offered for sale in Miller’s Gainesville store. With the state of Florida being home to millions of alligators, the alligator (or “gator”) proved to be an appropriate and popular choice among members of the student body, and the Florida football team began to refer to itself as the “Gators” during the 1911 fall season.

A live alligator named Albert, first appeared at football games during the 1957 season, and served as the mascot of the football team on the field before the costumed version of Albert became the mascot in 1970. He was joined by a female version, Alberta, in 1984. They often appear as a couple, but also appear alone. They both cheer on the football team, but Albert appears solo at Gators baseball and men’s basketball games, while Alberta cheers on the women’s basketball and gymnastics teams, among others.

Albert and Alberta are unique among the SEC’s college mascots as the only male and female pairing, something also generally uncommon among the NCAA’s many mascots.

More so than some college mascots, the students who portray Albert and Alberta have to be able to endure extremely hot temperatures inside the mascot suit during home football games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

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