Rhody The Ram memories prompt endowment support
Busy student volunteers to benefit from scholarship aid
KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 6, 2003 -- As a former Rhody The Ram, Cortney Mahoney remembers taking exams on planes and studying on buses during road trips.
The 2001 University of Rhode Island graduate, who is originally from Pawtucket and now lives in North Kingstown, also remembers a full-time class load, working full-time, serving as a resident assistant and being a member of Alpha Phi sorority.
Mara Levy Kahn remembers the early 1970s when she became the first woman to don the Rhody costume. A cheerleader friend thought Kahn was goofy enough to be Rhody, and so she took the challenge. But there were many who didnt like the idea of a woman ram, and she received letters from people telling her so.
The 1975 graduate in home economics and journalism laughs about it now, and chuckles even harder when she talks about the "ratty costume I was always mending and fixing with duct tape. It took a fair amount of time, especially for basketball," Kahn said. "But I had fun with it, probably because of the anonymity of the suit."
Neither Kahn nor Mahoney would change their time performing as Rhody.
But Mahoney is now working to help make it easier for students who volunteer an average of 10 hours a week as Rhody The Ram.
Along with Robert Beagle, vice president for University Advancement, she came up with the idea for a $10,000 endowment to support student scholarships to serve as Rhody. She said that an endowment would help students who commit to something as important to URIs image as Rhody.
"At games there is nothing better than the kids coming up to you and giving you a hug and telling you how much they love you," Mahoney said of her days as the costumed one. "Professors understand when youre away, but its a lot to juggle."
Now a computer consultant with Covansys Inc., the finance major said she wants to give students the opportunity to be the best mascot in the nation. For the right person, the rewards are priceless.
"I traveled to NCAA tourneys; I was there in Philadelphia when Lamar Odom put in his last-second shot to win the A-10 championship," Mahoney said. "I was there in Chicago for the Great 8 tournament. Think about it, I was in the arena where Michael Jordan played."
Even as a high school student at St. Raphael Academy, she knew she was destined to become Rhody. "When my cousin Keith Battista was at URI, he was Rhody, and I always looked up to him. When I came here, I knew I wanted to do it."
She was Rhody for four years, is now a mens basketball season ticket holder and her car displays the license plate "ImaRam."
"We have to ensure that Rhody remains vital and that we always have students who want to represent the University in this way. Rhody is the most important part of the URI marketing arsenal. Hes the one who makes everyone smile a little more and cheer a little harder."
Kahn, who now lives in San Francisco, agreed, adding "it would be fun to have a reunion of all former Rhody The Rams at Homecoming so we can all share our stories."
To make a contribution to the endowment or for further information, call Sarah Howard, assistant director of athletic development, at 401-874-7536.