WHALE, WHALE, WHALE! Monday, May 8, marks another year around the sun for the NEOMED mascot, Nate the Walking Whale. Celebrate with a birthday party for Nate and our NEOMED community from 12-1 p.m. in the atrium outside of the Watanakunakorn Auditorium. Cupcakes, photo ops and singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ will bring some excitement to the day.

Nate’s Story

The Walking Whale is better known as Ambulocetus natans, an early cetacean that could walk as well as swim. It is the only species classified under the genus Ambulocetus and is a transitional fossil that shows how whales evolved from land-living mammals. It was discovered in Pakistan in 1993 by NEOMED scientist Hans Thewissen, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor.

Nate, the Walking Whale, came to life in 2013, when University constituents were asked to brainstorm ideas for an official mascot they felt embodied the characteristics of the University that were most important to them. More than 100 ideas were submitted, and a committee of faculty, staff and students selected four candidates, which were narrowed down to two (Walking Whale and the Rising Phoenix) through a primary vote by students, faculty, staff, alumni and retirees. The two top finalists then went head-to-head in an important campaign, complete with public debates.

The mascot represents the great scientific discoveries made at the University and in the fields of medicine and pharmacy, and helps NEOMED stand out as a center of academic innovation and discovery. The Walking Whale also represents NEOMED's impact on not only our own community, but also the world community. While Walking Whales no longer exist, they have evolved into some of the most elegant and majestic creatures on earth. And no matter what trials, tribulations or successes have arisen, the Walking Whale serves as a reminder that there are always great things lying ahead.

Happy Birthday, Nate!

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