Rodo, aka Attila: A Duck’s Long Rise to Stevens Stardom
All great heroes have an origin story.
And the Stevens mascot duck Attila’s is actually entwined with that of another campus legend: The Stute student newspaper.
With the first issue of the paper set to publish in 1904, its editors puzzled over how to promote the new publication to classmates. They settled upon a series of posters for a campus bulletin board, each with a sketch themed around the idea of growth — as they hoped their fledgling paper would grow. The first sketch was an egg, the second a duckling biting through its shell. Over the next three weeks, an illustrated duck appeared dressed for football, lacrosse and the mid-winter dance.
Named Rodo, the waterfowl made its first appearance as Stevens’ mascot in 1907 when students donned a duck costume during a football game at Rutgers. Fans loved Rodo, who briefly became a fixture at athletic events until The Stute became a weekly paper in 1908 and sent Rodo off to a pleasant retirement.
More than 60 years later, in an effort to bring “personality” to campus, The Stute worked with the Student Council to resurrect the duck as the university's official mascot. A contest sponsored by the campus bookstore solicited ideas for a new name. The winning entry, selected in spring 1972: Attila.
And ever since, the duck formerly known as Rodo has been a beloved representative of Stevens, attending all manner of campus events and even inspiring a new campus tradition: the Duck Dance.