The Return of an Icon


Vintage Hootie1

During the summer of 2022, an iconic, vintage representation of Oregon Tech that was being stored by alumni was returned to campus in celebration of the university’s 75th anniversary. This 7-foot owl made of 1/8-inch steel has a history that traces back to the university’s origins.

Hootie, Oregon Tech’s mascot as the metal structure is referred to, was designed and cut in the metal shop at the Oregon Technical Institute (OTI). It is believed to have been created by alumnus and welding instructor George Marostica ’53, ’55 and served as a sign at the entrance of the original campus. Once the campus moved from the Old Fort Road location to its current location, the Hootie sign was placed at Campus Drive and Highway 97 to serve as a symbol of the school. Eventually, a new sign was made and this original Hootie representation was left to rust in the snow.

Jay Tofflemire ’77 and Brian Waggoner ’79, ‘95
Jay Tofflemire ’77 and Brian Waggoner ’79, ‘95

A full restoration of the metal owl was made in 1976. Hootie was then entrusted to the care of the fraternity on campus at the time, Iota Phi Theta. The fraternity used Hootie on floats in parades, placed the owl at the entrance of the track during meets, and proudly displayed the mascot in the home used as the fraternity house. It is said that Oregon Tech’s first president, Winston Purvine, would sometimes attend fraternity parties where Hootie was displayed since Purvine lived nearby.

After the Iota Phi Theta fraternity was disbanded, steel Hootie was adopted by many alumni throughout the years. Some of the alumni who rescued and cared for Hootie throughout the years include Ed Butchino ‘75, Donna Butchino '78, Mark Cassady ‘72, Delia Coble ‘74, Don Douglas ’77, ’91, ‘95, and Brian Waggoner ’79 who had possession of Hootie since 2012. We are thankful to all the alumni who preserved the original iconic structure and to Jay Tofflemire ’77 and Brian Waggoner ’79, ‘95 for their role in Hootie’s reunification with the campus.

While its edges may be sharp and its colors faded, the Hootie sign is an icon that is now back at home on campus. We are seeking any photos and stories of this vintage Hootie from throughout the years. These will be included with our 75th anniversary memorabilia. Photos and stories can be shared via email to the Director of Alumni Relations at