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UB Bee History

 

Bee yearbook 1938

An early version of the Bee, embossed on the cover of the 1938 Reporter.

bee jacket

Baseball Coach Harold Gottshall wears the Bees warmup jacket in the 1949 Reporter.

bee drawing

The Bee doffs his hat in honor of the UB student newspaper, the Baloo, in the pages of the 1957 Reporter.

bee singing history

The Bees offer a rousing chorus (no doubt the "UB Alma Mater") in the pages of the 1961 Reporter.

The University of Baltimore Bee has been a colorful part of campus life for decades. As far back as 1937, the Bee has served as the University's official mascot, striking a fierce pose for sporting events, showing a knack for singing and socializing, and in general serving as an icon for the University and a personification of school spirit.

University records show that the Bee was, for the most part, a homemade phenomenon. Renderings from well over a dozen different yearbooks show the Bee in a variety of hand-drawn poses; there was nothing mass-produced or off-the-shelf about this little character. The Bee also appeared in costume form over the years, cheering on UB teams to some glorious finishes. At some point in the 1940s, the Bee even found a home in the form of a campus activities update known as "The Beehive."

By the 1970s, UB's reputation had grown to the point that some spiffing up of the Bee was required. Famed coach Frank Szymanski, M.S. '77, director of athletics and head coach of men's basketball at UB from 1971 to 1982, explained it this way:

"When I came to UB in the summer of 1971, I knew I had to make a number of drastic changes in the athletic department, one of which was the design of the 'Bumble Bee.'

"After talking with a number of former players, Ed Matczuk [B.S. '72], a good friend and alumnus of UB, told me his dad was an artist and would be happy to meet with me. A week later he came to my office with a box full of pictures of bees, one of which was the U.S. Air Force fighting B-29 bomber, the hero during the Second World War. It was a great caricature, but I didn't want to do a disservice to its reputation.

"It was at that time that Mr. Matczuk began to draw the Mighty Bee, with big arms, legs, and a mean face. After two hours and over 100 variations of the Mighty Bee, he finally said to me, 'This is my last creation.' With that, I said, "Now, Mr. Matczuk, that Bee is Super! And with that, the image of the athletic department of the University of Baltimore became the 'Super Bees.'"

Bumble Bee, Super Bee, Singing Bee—whatever the iteration, it's all about the UB Bee.

You'll find many more images and descriptions of the UB Bee in the pages of UB's yearbooks, archived in Langsdale Library's Special Collections Web site.