Oski the Bear

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Oski the Bear
Oski in front of Bowles Hall
UniversityUniversity of California, Berkeley
DescriptionAnthropomorphic Bear
First seenSeptember 27, 1941

Oski the Bear (Oski) is the official mascot of the University of California, Berkeley ("Cal"), representing the California Golden Bears. Named after the Oski Yell,[1] he made his debut at a freshman rally in the Greek Theatre on September 25, 1941.[2][3] Prior to his debut, live bears were used as Cal mascots.[4]

Oski's name, design, and character were developed by William “Rocky” Rockwell, who was the first student to play the role, and Warrington Colescott, an editor of The Daily Californian and famed satirist.

Since his debut, Oski's activities have been managed by the Oski Committee, which also appoints a new Oski whenever a replacement is required. Historically, persons who played Oski were male and of short stature (under 5'7"), although the gender requirement was dropped around 1974.[5]

Oski's identity is protected by the Committee, and wearers of the suit generally do not disclose their identity to the public. One faculty member is aware of the students on the Oski Committee to provide accountability for any incidents.[1] To that end, there may be multiple members of the Committee who wear the suit, depending on their schedules.[5]


Oski was suspended for two weeks in January 1990, for throwing a cake towards Oregon State fans, of which some landed on the father of Oregon State point guard Gary Payton.[6]

In 1999, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) passed a bill calling for a makeover of the "poorly constructed and pathetic version of a bear". The ASUC president vetoed the bill.[7]


  1. ^ a b Kell, Gretchen (September 26, 2016). "Birthday Bear: Iconic Oski turns 75". UC Berkeley.
  2. ^ Tong, Vinnee (1996-03-20). "Oski Has Made Us Laugh, Cry". The Daily Californian. p. 9. Retrieved 2022-05-18.
  3. ^ "Students Jam Big Rally". The Daily Californian. 1941-09-26. p. 1. Retrieved 2022-05-18.
  4. ^ "Berkeley: Traditions". University of California History. 1966. Retrieved 2015-12-01. After 1946, Oski was the charge of a special committee. This group of men between 5'2" and 5'4" in height and possessed of considerable gymnastic ability, determined Oski's schedule, planned his stunts, and took turns assuming his character.
  5. ^ a b "The Oski Committee: Keepers of Bears, secrets". The Daily Californian. 2022-04-23. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  6. ^ "Payton Linked To Grizzly Event -- Cal Mascot Gets Benched For Cake Toss | The Seattle Times". archive.seattletimes.com. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  7. ^ Levi Holtz, Debra (1999-11-06). "Students Call for Cal Mascot Makeover / Student measure wants..." San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2023-10-09.

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