MIT’s legendary mascot, Tim the Beaver, marked his 100th birthday on January 19, and celebrations will continue through Tech Reunions in June. Here’s an excerpt from an exclusive interview at Slice of MIT.
Slice: You were adopted as MIT’s mascot in January 1914. Can you talk a little about the early days?
Tim: I was so young back then—I had barely gnawed my first tree! I do remember Lester Gardener, Class of 1898, proposed me as mascot to President Maclaurin at an alumni meeting in New York City.
A few alumni—I won’t say who—were hoping for a kangaroo or an elephant. But we beavers are nature’s engineers—and we’re indigenous to North America! A hundred years later, it’s still a perfect match.
Slice: According to MIT’s records, you didn’t make an official visit to campus until 1977.
Tim: Just because it wasn’t an “official” visit doesn’t mean I wasn’t there. Remember when the brass rat was first designed in 1929? I was there. I exec-produced The Social Beaver back in ’56. I also helped carry the first piano to the top of Baker House in ’72.
Slice: After 100 years, do you still relate to MIT alumni and students?
Tim: Yes. We beavers are nocturnal workaholics noted for our engineering and mechanical skills. And according to conservationists, beavers don’t just build communities—they’re working to make them safer, more efficient, and healthier. Sound familiar?