Andy Gottesman / The Lantern
Although there are numerous rooms in the new Ohio Union named in honor of people and organizations, there is only one room named after an animal – the Maudine Cow Room.
David Hothersall, professor emeritus of psychology and something of an expert on the subject, tells the story like this:
In 1926, Rosalind Morrison won the Homecoming Queen election, but because only 10,000 students were enrolled and 12,000 votes had been cast, it was clear the election had been rigged.
“Rosie was named Queen, but as an honorable young woman, withdrew when the fraud became apparent,” Hothersall said. “The runner-up was Maudine Ormsby, a mystery candidate entered by the College of Agriculture.”
It turned out that Maudine was actually a Holstein cow. Despite this, she was still crowned and rode in the Homecoming parade.
However, she did not attend the dance.
“The ‘Maudine the Cow’ room is meant to honor Ohio State’s rich land grant and agricultural history,” said Heather McGinnis, director of development for the Office of Student Life and the Ohio Union.
Ohio State was originally called the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College and was founded as part of the Morrill Act, “which gave 10,000 acres of federal government land to each state to sell and use the proceeds to create a public university,” according to OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ Ohioline Web site.
“Because agricultural is – and has always been – a significant focus for Ohio State, it is fitting that students from the College of Agriculture are responsible for one of Ohio State’s most unique and well-known Homecoming ‘happenings,'” McGinnis said.
The story of Maudine is still alive and well on campus. Or at least it is if you visit the office for the University Hosts and University Ambassadors programs. There you will find a large stuffed animal cow dressed in a “Go Buckeyes” T-shirt and a University Ambassadors jacket.
After winning the stuffed cow during a team-bonding event, the students in the programs remembered the story of Maudine and decided to name the stuffed animal in her honor.
“She’s part of the tradition and pride of Ohio State,” said Ebony Smith, University Ambassadors supervisor. “It makes sense that we’d want to recognize that in our own little special way.
“She is the unofficial mascot and we’re proud of her,” Smith said.
The Maudine Cow Room is located on the lower level of the new Ohio Union.