Red Cat, Pioneer and Rough Rider rooms—what exactly are they named for?

This week’s trivia question asked what Wade Commons’ Red Cat Room and Pioneer Room and Fribley Commons’ Rough Rider Room are named after. The answer, found by many of those who delved into the university’s history—or by those who just knew some general facts—is that each was a previous mascot of either Western Reserve University or Case Institute of Technology.

As the university’s archives state, the student newspaper of Western Reserve University, The Reserve Weekly, ran a contest to choose a nickname during academic year 1920-21. Jaguars was tried out in the paper for several weeks. Other suggested names were Tornadoes, Northern Blizzards, Catamounts, Thunderbolts, Greyhounds, Lynx, Wild Cats, Marathons, Warriors, Wampuns and Martians; they ended up choosing the Pioneers.

But because Marietta College claimed prior right to the nickname Pioneers, The Reserve Weekly sponsored a contest to find a new nickname. More than 100 names were submitted, and Red Cats won out.

The Rough Riders of Case Institute of Technology were named after Ray A. Ride, football coach and athletic director. The term was first used in The Case Tech in the Oct. 23, 1930, edition, while the “Scientists” mascot was still in use. By 1939, the Rough Riders was the only name in use.

After the two schools merged to become Case Western Reserve University, the members of CWRU’s football team chose the Spartan in the fall of 1970.

For a full history, visit