Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Contact: Lalena Price, Marshall University Communications 304-746-1989

Marshall looking to fill role of Marco; auditions set for April 28

HUNTINGTON, W.VA. – Marshall University officials are seeking to fill one of the institution’s most important positions – the role of Marco, the school’s beloved mascot.

The position of head bison is an important one, according to Nancy Pelphrey, assistant director of Alumni Relations.

“Marco is the fun face of the university,” she said. “As a mascot bison, he has an important role as one of our top ambassadors. He supports athletics, of course, but is also so very important to many other aspects of Marshall. He appeals to kids of all ages, visitors, students and alumni.”

Marco has been around Marshall in some form for 59 years. Jack and Vause Carlsen, who were editors for the 1954 Chief Justice yearbook, developed and introduced the idea of Marco, according to Marshall archives.

“We were looking for a way to personalize the yearbook,” Jack Carlsen said. “And I had this idea that if we could create a character on the Thundering Herd, then we could have that character wander through the yearbook.

“That’s how it started and then it just seemed logical to call him Marco because it was Marshall College, so he was our version of Marco Polo wandering through the yearbook and visiting different groups.”

Marco appeared 21 times in the 1954 yearbook and was illustrated by an artist in the publishing department. He was featured smoking a pipe while reading, singing hymns, playing football and sweating anxiously while knocking on a dean's door.

The first Marco costume debuted in 1965. Since then, many people have played the role of Marco including Alan Young, who was one of the all-time favorites for Herd fans. He performed from 1986 through 1991 and even won a national mascot championship. Michael J. Farrell, a current member of the MU Board of Governors, played the role in the late 1960s.

Auditions for the role of Marco are set for Sunday, April 28, at 1 p.m. in the basement of the Memorial Student Center on the Huntington campus. Students – undergraduate or graduate – interested in being Marco should go to for more information and to apply.

For further information, contact:  Office of University Communications
Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090
Fax: (304) 696-3197