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Prospector Facts

Prospector Pete

The Forty-Niner Man (Prospector Pete) was unveiled on March 29, 1967 by then-President Carl. W. McIntosh. The bronze statue, which stands in the plaza outside the Liberal Arts 5 building, was sculpted by Ben Barker and sponsored by Circle K.

Former student Anthony Brennan, who attended here in the 1960s, was the model for the statue. He is in favor of retiring the mascot, but not the statue.

Prospector Pete hasn’t always been immortalized as a ruggedly good-looking bronzed figure. He also has been portrayed as something of a Yosemite Sam cartoon character with an oversized chin, floppy hat or on his head and pick ax in hand.

The statue originally was erected in 1967, before the creation of the Equal Opportunity Program on campus, which brought about a more diverse student population, which found the prospector offensive. Prospectors are believed to be responsible for the killing of indigenous peoples of California.

Nugget, the schools first mascotThe school’s first mascot was a mule named Nugget. The animal was sent packing when, according to legend, the mule bit a cheerleader on the backside.

Whether to keep Prospector Pete has been a question asked on campus since the 1970s when students, looking for new causes to protest following the Vietnam War, turned their focus on Pete.

Men's basketball was the first sport to debut on campus in 1951. There wasn’t a mascot on the sideline.

One year after the campus opened, 49er Days, an all-campus event, became a spring tradition. Think early Smorgsaport.

The statue has no iconic symbols associated with mining, such as a pickaxe or gold pan, and there isn't any mention of the name "Prospector Pete" on the statue's placard.


Los Angeles-Orange County State College opened in September 1949 with 160 enrolled students and 13 full-time faculty in a converted apartment building at 5401 E. Anaheim Street. Classes were only offered to junior and senior classmen consisting mostly of women and veterans.

In 1950, it was decided to rename the school Long Beach State College upon donation of a new site by the voters of Long Beach.

Long Beach State College Sign18 years later, Long Beach State College changed its name once more in 1968, this time to California State College at Long Beach. The move was controversial even back then.

In 1972, the CSU system became The California State University and Colleges, and the school was, renamed again to California State University, Long Beach.

Today, the university is referred to as Long Beach State University or California State University, Long Beach.