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Four people, two of them in Cosmo costume, stand on the playing floor of the Smith Fieldhouse in 1956.

At the last basketball game of 1956, Cosmo descended from a rope rigged in the Smith Fieldhouse rafters. After performing with the Cougarettes, Cosmo’s “head” came off to reveal Peggy Herron (’56), the first female Cosmo, who had shared the role with M. Ray Pope (’56), both pictured, center. While Pope had more experience with gymnastics and walking on stilts, Herron (later Mortensen), Cougarettes commandant, knew all of the dance moves.

Guarding Cosmo’s identity required creative costuming for Herron, who wore extra padding and shoes inside of shoes. She also practiced swaggering like a guy, coached by the first-ever Cosmo, Daniel T. Gallego (BS ’62), right.

Having two students as Cosmo allowed for more appearances—and less time each had to wear the hot head and fur suit. Another benefit: Peggy or Ray could show up with Cosmo, confusing anyone who might have suspected one of them was the mascot. (Read more of Mortensen’s story in First Person.)

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