Otto the Orange Credit: Photo provided by Syracuse Athletics

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—While Syracuse University is a bit outside of The Ithaca Voice‘s normal coverage range, the school has a healthy local fanbase that was given reason to celebrate this weekend.

Otto the Orange, the Syracuse University’s self-explanatory mascot, was elected to the National Mascot Hall of Fame on Friday. It is the highest honor possible to attain as a mascot, and as a sentient, smiling orange with legs and arms.

Otto will be inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside Slugger the Sea Dog, of the Portland Sea Dogs minor league baseball team. They become the first inductees into the Hall of Fame in four years, according to Syracuse Athletics, after winning a two-week fan vote. Over 19,000 ballots were submitted during the voting period.

The pair’s celebrations could be seen throughout the weekend.

The induction will take place on Saturday, Aug. 12 at the hallowed grounds itself, the National Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Indiana. Otto and Slugger will join such luminaries as YouDee of the University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens, Brutus Buckeye of Ohio State University, Smokey of the University of Tennessee, Mr. Met and the Phillie Phanatic, among more previous inductees. Otto becomes just the ninth college mascot to be inducted overall.

“The Mascot Hall of Fame is recognizing what Syracuse fans have known for years—Otto is one-of-a-kind and embodies what it means to be Orange,” said Chancellor Kent Syverud, according to Syracuse Athletics. “Otto’s spirit and joy are infectious, and part of why Otto is beloved by Orange faithful everywhere. This honor gives us one more reason to be proud of one of the greatest mascots in sports.”

“I am beyond thrilled and excited to see Otto be honored, especially after the many years of Otto being there for everyone else’s big moments,” says Julie Walas, mascot coach of the Otto program. “This honor is a testament to the large Otto alumni network, who year after year invest their time to bring Otto alive and spark joy, spirit and pride in not only our university community but the larger Central New York community and beyond.”

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at