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University Signs and Symbols

From the Owls to the All-in-C: 75 years of signs and symbols at UNC Charlotte

Norm the Niner/ 49ers

black and white photo of person dressed as the forty-niner mascot with hat, vest, and pipe.UNCC 1980 baseball yearbook with drawing of the miner mascot

Image (above left): The 49er, from Charlotte College Photographs, UA0065

Image (above right) from Athletics--Printed Materials, UA0466.

As Charlotte College shifted from offering only night classes to primarily daytime classes, the student body sought a new mascot to reflect the growing school’s new direction. The student newspaper solicited ideas for a new mascot and school colors, and in November 1961 the Forty-Niners was announced as the winning suggestion. It was a nod to 1949, the year Charlotte College was founded. In a 1967 student referendum, it was nearly changed, but the Forty-Niners beat out the Chargers and the Cougars to remain the official school mascot.

The original miner illustration (seen on these basketball uniforms) was created in 1962 by artist Jack Pentes. He lent his talents to the school again in 1969, when he designed the UNCC striped logo.

Black and white photo. Players hold trophy from basketball game. Color photo. Dean Colvard with Bo Pittman dressed as miner mascot.

Image (above left) from UNC Charlotte Photograph Collection, UA0066.

Image (above right): Dean Colvard and student Bo Pittman wearing a miner mascot outfit, 1970's, UNC Charlotte Photograph Collection, UA0066. The miner hat, vest, and boots are located in the Bo Pittman papers, MS0616.

In 1992 Geoff “Spike” Smith led a contest to name the miner statue that is now located in the plaza between the College of Health & Human Services and the College of Education. Previously known simply as the Forty-Niner Miner, he would from then on be affectionately known as Norm.

Color photo. The Forty-Niner statue and fountain.Color photo. Mascot Norm panning in a river.

Image (above left): The Forty-Niner Miner aka Norm, from UNC Charlotte Photograph Collection, UA0066.

Image (above right): Norm the Niner, 2002, from UNC Charlotte Photograph Collection, UA0066.