Happy Birthday, Wally!

Reunion 2023 is an opportunity to celebrate our mascot's 75th jubilee! While you wait to learn more about how we'll commemorate Wally, enjoy his story below.

Wally 1948

Wally Pilot came to life in 1948, when Nolan Drurey ’49, lured by a grand prize of five boxes of Chesterfield cigarettes, entered a Beacon mascot-design contest and first drew the bewhiskered river pilot. In his early years, Wally Pilot was known as the Spirit of Portland U or SPU.

From the 1950s to 1993, the members of Upsilon Omega Pi fraternity were Wally’s caretakers. In 1953, they spent 70 hours building a paper-mache Wally Pilot head, which they wore with rain gear at sports and other University events. As he integrated into campus life, SPU was most often a willing participant in Homecoming displays created by student organizations in the 1950s and 60s.

When fraternities and sororities disbanded on campus in the early 1990s, Wally’s head, rain gear, and boots were given to the University Museum where they are on display today. In 1993, a more friendly, healthy, and modern Wally Pilot was unveiled but to mixed reviews by students and alumni. Wally Pilot took a few years off and underwent a complete renovation and emerged in 2009 as a taller and more physically fit Wally (with six-pack abs!), entertaining spectators at athletic venues.

Fun Wally Facts:

Hometown: Portland, OR

Favorite Color: Athletics Purple

Favorite Food: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Favorite Activities: Meeting new people, cheering on our Pilots, working out, and sailing

Most played on Spotify: Prince - Purple Rain

Favorite Quote: "We may have all come from different ships, but we're on the same boat now." Martin Luther King, Jr.