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When a Marco crosses the stage, one last time

Aaron Paschke’s moment as Marshall’s beloved mascot has ended, but the memories he made are everlasting
A graphic with an image of Aaron Paschke in his cap and gown with an image of Marco shaking hands with fans at a football game.
From the moment he visited Marshall University during a Green & White Day, Aaron Paschke knew this was the place for him. The campus felt like home, and the educational opportunities were outstanding. Looking back, Aaron knows he couldn’t have chosen a better place to experience educational and professional growth.

Marco stands in the middle of Joan C. Edwards stadium wearing his graduation cap and MARCO stole.

A significant part of Aaron’s journey at Marshall has been his role as Marshall’s beloved mascot, Marco. Becoming Marco was a dream come true for him.

“I’ve always loved serving my community and campus, and what better way to do that than by being Marco,” he said.

As Marco, Aaron got to experience a truly unforgettable variety of moments.

“I’ve always loved serving my community and campus, and what better way to do that than by being Marco.” - Aaron Paschke

One of his favorite opportunities of being Marco was the diverse range of appearances he made. From representing Marshall at the Sun Belt basketball tournament in Pensacola, Florida, and cheering on the soccer team during the Sun Belt Conference Championship, every moment was special.

“I liked the variety of events and moments I was able to experience the most,” Aaron recalled. Each event allowed him to connect with fans and represent Marshall University in a unique and impactful way.

One particularly impactful moment for Aaron was standing on the field with the Hoops Family Junior Captain of the Game during the first television timeout of home football games. Seeing the joy on the kids’ faces and hearing the crowd’s cheers made those moments incredibly special for Aaron.

Marco shakes hands with young fans during an event.

“Those were the most impactful moments I had, being able to be part of those kids’ special moments where everyone in the stands cheered them on in support,” Aaron said.

Being a mascot involves more than just attending sporting events and interacting with fans. As Marco, Aaron also made appearances at various university and community events. Aaron participated in the annual homecoming parade, attended a grant signing by Gov. Jim Justice for the Cyber Security Institute, and even welcomed the United States Capitol Christmas Tree at Highlawn Elementary in Huntington.

“Marco is the most well-known ambassador of Marshall University, and that comes with different university-related appearances, as well as public appearances for different events,” he said.

Marco participates in the Marshall University Homecoming Parade

Behind the scenes, Aaron received immense support from the University Marketing and Communications Office and the HerdZone Marketing Office. The Dance and Cheerleading teams also played a crucial role in supporting Marco and helping to make each event successful.

“Both the University Marketing and Communications Office and Athletics do a lot of behind-the-scenes work for Marco,” he said. “They helped set up appearances, transported me to different events, and gave me opportunities for input as well.”

For anyone interested in becoming a mascot, Aaron said it is a tough job that is worth the effort.

Marco, wearing a graduation gown and stole, tosses a graduation cap in Joan C Edwards Stadium

“Being a mascot is a physically taxing job,” he said. “You never realize how much a mascot head weighs until you put it on, and there have been times when I have been exhausted beyond belief. You need to be in reasonably good shape and hydrate regularly, but despite the challenges, the experience of being Marco was incredibly rewarding and enriching.”

Aaron’s journey as Marco has been filled with growth and unforgettable experiences. He is incredibly proud to be a part of the Marshall family and looks forward to carrying these memories and lessons into his future endeavors.

“It was the cherry on top of a wonderful four years as a student here and makes me even more proud to be a Son of Marshall.” - Aaron Paschke

“It was the cherry on top of a wonderful four years as a student here and makes me even more proud to be a Son of Marshall.”

Wearing a white “MARCO” stole, Aaron crossed the commencement stage at Marshall Health Arena on April 27, 2024, to commemorate his B.B.A. degree in management information systems and to close the last chapter on his time as Marco. Aaron accepted a job that has relocated him to Michigan where he is continuing his career working in athletics. He looks forward to returning to the Joan again soon, as a proud Marshall alumnus.