Herm dances with young fans at Homecoming and Family Weekend's Fall Festival on the front lawn. He is retiring after (at least) 22 years as Eastern Mennonite University's mascot. (EMU file photo)

Herm ready to ‘pass the torch’ of Royal Pride to next blue lion mascot

Eastern Mennonite University has announced the retirement of Herm, the school’s mascot, effective at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

Known less by his official moniker of Herm the Fourth, Herm is completing his 22nd year as the biggest (and most loveable) fan and cheerleader of the EMU Royals.

“It has been a great honor to serve the EMU community for the past 22 years,” the silent Herm wrote in his resignation letter. “I will always cherish my time here, cheering on our Royals athletic teams, supporting this community’s amazing events, and frolicking on this beautiful campus.”

“There are some talented blue lions out there ready to step in. They are young and have a lot to learn, of course, but the Royal pride and enthusiasm is there. I see a bright future ahead.” 


A nationwide search for the next Loyal Lion has already begun, with an anticipated start date of fall 2020. EMU officials plan to extend an invitation to Herm to meet the new member of the Royals pride at a “passing of the torch” ceremony.

The general public knows Herm from EMU sporting events, but he has also spread cheer and community, spirit and smiles at other EMU events such as Homecoming, LovEMU Day, new student orientation, residence life events, and really anywhere a happy Royal has been needed.

Herm wrote that many things had changed since he started at EMU in 1998, including his ability to keep up with today’s students.

“My speed and agility are no longer a match for today’s athletes, and with my limited tech skills I have fallen behind in my abilities to stay ‘hip’ with our student body,” he said with an ironically dated reference to current lingo. “I feel the time has come for me to walk away from the Royal throne and pass the torch to the next Loyal Lion in line for EMU. Thank you to all of the students, faculty, staff, and administration that have become great friends over the years.”

Herm will continue with his regular duties through June, with his final months also featuring a Virtual Appreciation Tour on EMU social media accounts. After that, Herm doesn’t have any plans other than to “take a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains and hopefully enjoy some beach somewhere.” He also didn’t rule out taking up residence at any retirement communities near EMU’s campus.

Herm hangs out with new EMU president Susan Schultz Huxman in 2017.

“Herm, we will miss you!” said President Susan Schultz Huxman. “What an inspiration you have been for our campus community for kids and kids at heart alike. You gave me a great introduction to EMU in 2017, as we rode around in the golf cart all day and you introduced me to so many. Thanks for all the memories at sporting events, Fall Festival, LovEMU Day and more! We wish you well in retirement as you do … well, whatever blue lions do in retirement!”

Discussion on “Herm ready to ‘pass the torch’ of Royal Pride to next blue lion mascot

  1. Thanks for this announcement. I’m especially looking forward to watching Herm over the next few months as he heads into retirement. I just wanted to add a few interesting tidbits of info to this for interested readers.

    EMU’s search for a new blue lion mascot came in part because of an offer from an anonymous donor earlier this year to contribute towards a new costume. Our current Herm costume is quite elderly and despite routine cleaning, was showing signs of wear — and of course, years of love for Herm. We were so appreciative of this generous opportunity to think about updating our mascot, and Herm was also excited at the prospect of retiring with appropriate acclaim for his many years of service to EMU.

    Our April 8 LovEMU Day is an opportunity to show your love for Herm and for EMU, and to help us continue to attract excellent student-athletes to carry on our Royal pride.

    –Dave King, EMU director of athletics

    1. The emu lives on! A group of students has adopted the emu and are promoting it. I’ll ask one of them to hop in here and post some info on that movement.

  2. I congratulate Herm on his retirement. He has served us well! A bit nostalgic, as director of alumni relations, I remember retiring the old one and purchasing Herm in ’98 on behalf of our alumni club, the Loyal Royals. There was some discussion that he was not fierce looking enuf but budget for blue lions was limited!

    1. Hi Jayne,
      The Emu lives on! I’ll ask student Seth Andreas to pop into this article and give you an update.

  3. For the record, the initial “HRM” came to EMC in 1980 or 1981. I was the Director of Alumni Relations at the time, initiated a contest among students to create a cartoon character as a mascot, which evolved quickly into a make-shift costume. The original costume was a hand sewn outfit made by Gloria Lehman, a home economics teacher at Eastern Mennonite High School. I made the headgear out of fiberglass and covered it with the same fabric used by Mrs. Lehman. The headgear was intoxicating and I couldn’t find anyone to wear it, so I was the first “HRM” for the first few years. Pictures of this first rendition are available on request. After I left the alumni position, an official, professionally made costume was purchased and the rest is history, relatively unknown to me.

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