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Pelican Pride

John Mason Loomis’ Stationery

Pelican as the Loomis family crest on the back of an envelope

John Mason Loomis, the youngest of the Founders, wrote to his cousin in 1897 of his enthusiasm for the school: “the subject is so full of color and hope—inspiration and possibilities”. His affection for the pelican as the family’s symbol is proudly on display here, on the back of the envelope he used to mail this letter.

School Seal, 1916

School Seal from 1916

Founder Osbert Loomis designed a school seal in 1880. While his drawings do not survive, we can wonder how closely this seal, published in the first Loomiscellany, is related to Osbert’s design. In 1886 he wrote to his brother John, “The Pelican vulning always typifies a moral idea, course & purpose of life—full of charity.”

Founders Hall North Entrance

Main entrance of Founders Hall bearing an image of the Loomis Pelican above the north door

Founders Hall opened in 1916 bearing an image of the Loomis Pelican above the north door, the building’s formal entrance. Seventy-five years later, Headmaster John Ratté asked the school in a convocation talk to consider the campus Pelicans, “who peer down at us from the pediments above doorways mutely saying, ‘How far will you go in giving of yourself?’”

Chaffee Student Council Pin, 1936

Chaffee Student Council Pin, 1936

Thanks to a student initiative, The Chaffee School adopted the Greyhound as its mascot in 1929. Interestingly, student council members of the mid-1930s wore a pin that bore an image of Chaffee’s first mascot, the Pelican.

John Metcalf Taylor Plaque

John Metcalf Taylor Plaque

Evelyn Longman’s 1937 tribute to John Metcalf Taylor gives a nod to the Loomis Pelican. Taylor was a major influence in carrying the Founders’ vision into the 20th century. Longman’s memorial to faculty member Chick Sellers, also created in 1937, bears a Loomis Pelican too.

The 1948 Chaffee Pelicans and Their Banner

The 1948 Chaffee Pelicans and Their Banner

In 1931 the Chaffee Athletic Association divided the school into two teams, the Pelicans and the Greyhounds. Thus was born a rivalry of sportsmanship, school pride, and good-natured competition for generations of Chaffee students. The 1948 Pelicans are pictured here at the annual Pelican-Greyhound field hockey game.

The Pelican, 1982

Loomis Chaffee’s mascot stands with one of its biggest fans, fifth headmaster John Ratté.

Always cheerful and always cheering on fellow Pelicans, Loomis Chaffee’s mascot stands with one of its biggest fans, fifth headmaster John Ratté. The mascot’s 1980s look may have had a makeover in the ensuing decades, but its enthusiasm for sportsmanship and school spirit have never changed.

Today’s Pelican

Our Pelican mascot leaning on the Loomis Chaffee School entrance sign, surrounded by mums.

Today’s Pelican is one busy bird. He makes appearances at pep rallies, sports games, Winterfest, Reunion, and other occasions. Recently, the Pelican has played both cameo and starring roles in Loomis Chaffee films. The affection felt today for the mascot is more light-hearted than that of the Founders, and the Pelican remains a symbol of our commitment to the common good.


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