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Mario the Magnificent

This essay is the third in the series Drexel students write about Drexel history

Mario the Magnificent

by Anthony Lloyd II and Estefany Zamorano

Drexel has the honor to present one of the most authoritative and vibrant mascots: The Dragon. How this dragon became a part of Drexel as "Mario the Magnificent" is an unusual, yet compelling story. Mario the Magnificent stands ten feet tall and overlooks the intersection of 33rd and Market Streets. The plaque, dedicated in 2002, is a tribute to Mario Mascioli, an exemplary alumnus.

Since the founding of the Drexel Institute in 1891 and for 19 years hence, the sports teams existed without an official mascot. Some names were associated with various teams such as: The Sheep, The Blue and Gold, The Engineers, and The Drexelites but nothing ever stuck. Until October 17th, when the school newspaper, The Triangle" printed an article entitled "Drexel Dragons Make Astounding Record as Victorious Team". (Please see "The Origins of the Drexel Dragon," by Stephen Janick, for more information.) In the same edition, an article discussing the new nickname was titled "The Name Dragons."

Basketball Dragons in uniform, 1929Drexel men's basketball team, 1929

Now, where does Mario enter the picture? "Mario the Magnificent" was established in honor of Mario Mascioli, Drexel alumni of the class of ‘45 and trustee. For twenty years he demonstrated his school spirit, not missing a single men’s basketball home game. Mascioli had already been presented with honors in 1997, when the graduating class presented him with the new mascot costume, dubbing it "Mario the Magnificent."

Today, Mario is not only a landmark for students but for the City of Philadelphia, as well. One will usually hear the phrase "Meet me at the Dragon" and know where to go. Mario Mania has also become a popular term among the student body. In 2009, more than 20 student organizations, staff and departments competed in the decoration of 4-foot tall Marios, which were auctioned off at the conclusion. Mario Mascioli lived to see most of his tributes and died in 2005 at the age of 83.

The Drexel Dragon in an earlier incarnationDrexel Dragon in an earlier incarnation, circa 1970

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