October 21, 80 years ago, Mike I arrived on the LSU campus to much fanfare and revelry. Students declared a holiday, and buglers who were stationed around campus sounded reveille at 5:45 a.m.
Roadblocks were set up, and professors and students who were carrying books were barred from campus. At 6:00 a.m., a parade led by the Cadet Band began through campus and lasted most of the morning. At noon, students entered the stadium to get their first glimpse of Mike. The festivities ended at 9:30 p.m. with a dance held at the Gym-Armory (now the Cox Academic Center for Athletes).
Mike was purchased from the Little Rock, Arkansas Zoo for $750, which was raised through student contributions. He was named for athletic trainer Mike Donohue, who had helped facilitate the tiger’s purchase.
For more information on Mike I and his successors, see Mike the Tiger: The Roar of LSU by David Baker. Dr. Baker has been the primary veterinarian for Mike the Tiger since 1996.
Information sources: The Reveille; Mike and Higginbotham, LSU Photograph Collection; students at roadblock, Gumbo 1937.