History and Tradition

Seeing the light

For centuries, beacons have guided ships in the most perilous waters to safety. Quite often, a beacon was the only light sailors could see in the black of night. The light was reassuring. Hopeful. Sustaining. It helped ships stay the course. A beacon of light has since become synonymous with any source of guidance and inspiration. The word "beacon" became part of the heritage of the City of Boston in the 1780s, when a beacon stood on what is now called Beacon Hill. Today, Beacon Hill, the most historic and elegant neighborhood in the city, is recognized as the essence of Old Boston.

Lighting the way

Paul Finnegan, one of the first administrators of athletics at the University of Massachusetts Boston, recognized the symbolic importance of the beacon. In fact, he became a beacon in his own right. In the early 1970s, Finnegan established intramural and recreational athletics for UMass Boston students at the university's first campus in Park Square, with programs on the Boston Common and at the Greater Boston YMCA. Knowing that the campus would be built on Boston Harbor, where beacons guide ships from all over the world, Finnegan believed a beacon would be the ideal symbol to represent UMass Boston and its athletic teams.

Shine on

With good reason. The beacon is a symbol of hope and guidance. As a light that is never extinguished, it represents a constant. A promise that, if you persevere, you will reach your destination. As the city's only public university, UMass Boston guides students to a better future. It offers promise to those associated with the university that they can shine. Rise above. Realize their hopes and dreams. It reflects UMass Boston Athletics. UMass Boston athletic teams have been known as the Beacons since 1974. In 1982, an official logo was rendered. It remained for almost 20 years, but this friendly cartoon character failed to capture the drive and determination of UMass Boston's athletics. However, the new Beacon logo does exactly that and more.

Our logo, like our program, conveys light, strength, and endurance. We have an intensity of focus, a relentless pursuit to achieve. We endure in the darkest of outlooks. With a substantial international student-athlete population, we are a beacon for diversity. In fact, we are the only institution in the country with a Beacon as its mascot. Appropriately, this is UMass Boston, a university like no other.