Corky the Hornet

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Corky the Hornet
Corky the Hornet.jpg
Corky the Hornet at an Emporia State football game.
University Emporia State University
Conference MIAA
Description Hornet
First seen February 15, 1933

Corky the Hornet is the mascot of the Emporia State Hornets, the athletic teams of Emporia State University. Paul Edwards created the mascot when he was a student at the school, which was then known as Kansas State Teachers College.


Creation of Corky[edit]

Original drawing of Corky the Hornet.

In the 1930s, Emporia State University was named Kansas State Teachers College, and were known as the "Yaps". Many people were not fond of the name, most notably legendary coach, Vic Trusler. Trusler suggested to the Emporia Gazette's Cecil Carle that the university's athletic teams should be called the "Yellow Jackets". However, the name changed to "Hornets" because of the lack of newspaper space.[1]

In 1933, the Kansas State Teachers College had a student contest where students and staff could design a mascot for the college. Sophomore Paul Edwards, who graduated in 1937, designed Corky for a campus-wide logo contest. Many students sent in their drawings of a mascot, but they chose Edwards' Corky, a "human-like" hornet. Corky was published in The Bulletin, the student newspaper for Emporia State University. Although Edwards won the contest, he was originally in lost to another student named Richard Weller, who later withdrew.[2]

Paul Edwards[edit]

Paul Edwards, creator of Corky the Hornet

Paul Edwards worked as an animation artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios. There he worked on such Disney films as Johnny Appleseed and Little Toot, as well as creating Mr. Bluebird (on my shoulder) from the “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” portion of Song of the South.[3] Before Edwards worked at Disney, he was a member of the tennis team at Kansas State Teachers College. Edwards led his team to the state finals in 1937. And even though Kansas State Teachers came up short there against Wichita State University, Edwards continued his tennis career while serving for the military during World War II. Edwards had decided to enlist in the United States Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and received orders to report to Naval Magazine Indian Island, Washington.[4] Paul Edwards lives in Santa Barbara, California, and still designs a "Corky" for special events like the homecoming plays, etc.


Official Corky logo used by the university

The primary duty of Corky is to be an ambassador of ESU, roaming the sidelines at football and basketball games giving hugs to youngsters. Corky is often involved in entertaining children. Corky is also present at most major university events such as athletic competitions, like Tradition Night, Homecoming, parades, etc. Corky is also present at all Hornet Connections, where students enroll and learn more about Emporia State University.


  1. ^ History of Corky Fischer, William, Jr. "The Legend of Corky the Hornet: Emporia State University." Editorial. The Historical Marker Database. William Fischer, Jr., 18 Sept. 2010. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.
  2. ^ "Traditions". 
  3. ^ Paul Edwards, creator of Corky Carlson, Emily. "The Talented Mr. Edwards." Santa Barbara Independent 23 Oct. 2012. Print.
  4. ^ "Summer 2009 Spotlight" (PDF). Emporia State University Alumni Association. 

External links[edit]