Aims Community College50th Anniversary

Arty the Aardvark's Story

The myth, the legend, the Aardvark.

Arty the Aardvark is the official mascot of Aims Community College.

The origin of Arty the Aardvark is not really known. It has been said that the idea of the aardvark started with a group of student walkers in a physical education class who called themselves the aardvarks. Legend also has it that the aardvark became the official mascot of Aims so the school would be first in a list of mascots. The creation of the name Arty has been widely speculated as keeping with the “A” theme of Aims Aardvarks.

The most likely (and perhaps most believable) story is from Aims’ first president, Dr. Ed Beaty. According to his daughter, Susan Brack, Dr. Beaty said, “Aardvarks…we need to be the aardvarks,” and he had a smile on his face. His daughter also said Dr. Beaty was not concerned with looking too serious or important and said, “We don’t care much if we [at Aims] are important, but we do matter.” As Aims moved away from its original location in the old Lincoln Elementary School building on fifth avenue to its new home in west Greeley, students voted the aardvark the official mascot, and later named him, Arty.

In 1969, Arty was replaced by a Saint Bernard but made his return to Aims in 1985 with the creation of the Howling Aardvarks fictitious football team, created by then Aims Public Information Officer, Mark Olson. The Howling Aardvarks quickly became an entertainment favorite for employees. The football team had weekly games, usually beating their nationally recognized university opponents in epic fashion.

Arty went on “sabbatical” in the early 2000’s and is just beginning his return to the Aims community with a fresh look and energy to inspire the students, faculty and staff. 

Is it ridiculous to have such an uncommon mascot? Some might think so, but at Aims, the aardvark has deeper meaning. Aardvarks are adaptable, determined and resourceful in finding the means to survive in the African desert. Aims students come from an array of life circumstances and have shown adaptability to survive and persevere through challenging situations. The students come to Aims with great determination in their quest to earn an education and to better themselves. Seeing Arty around campus makes everyone smile and is a reminder that we do matter and always have since our beginning, 50 years ago.