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Prospector Pete

Prospector Pete

Long Beach State University is a forward-thinking and inclusive community. Born out of the California spirit, our university has a history of being gritty pioneers, scholars and innovators.

Pete PetersonWe pride ourselves as being one of the most diverse universities in the United States, home to students from all over the world. It is time that we evolve our traditions to reflect what our campus is today and what it will be in the future.

The Prospector Pete image grew from our founding in 1949 and reflected our Founding President Pete Peterson’s common references to having struck the gold of education by establishing Long Beach State College. President Peterson was absolutely correct; education is precious.

As our diversity grew and more voices were heard, we came to know that the 1849 California gold rush was a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California endured subjugation, violence and threats of genocide. Today, the spirit of inclusivity is reflected in our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. Today’s Beach is not connected to that era.

Prospector Pete Statue

We have evolved from Prospector Pete. We are more than one mascot. We are the Beach. A model of diversity, success and relevance. We are champions. We are informed by our past and prepared to face the future together.

Therefore, the university will officially “retire” the Prospector Pete mascot.

However, we want to recognize and preserve our history. To honor our alumni we will be relocating the statue to an area on campus dedicated to our alumni.

“Inclusive excellence is a core value of the Long Beach State University community,” said President Jane Close Conoley. “Our work in this arena is never done. We want to ensure that we hear from as many people as possible who have a stake not only in the issue at hand, but also in the life and history of our campus. I’m heartened to have heard from so many students, faculty, staff and alumni who are helping learn from past without rancor, but with a commitment to unity and compassion.”

In 2014, the Long Beach State Athletics department began moving away from referencing the 49er mascot and Prospector Pete on its sports teams. They are known strictly as Beach Athletics.

As part of our collective movement to gather all voices, we want you to join the conversation regarding Long Beach State’s mascot for the 21st century.


Students walk by Prospector Pete statue

Nugget and a student as Prospector Pete

The university’s first mascot was Nugget, a mule. Student Isabel Patterson decreed the 49ers nickname.

Prospector Pete

Bronze statue was sculpted by student Ben Barker.