States Directory / California
The official mascot of California is the Bear. It was first adopted in 1915, when photographer and game official Charles Robinson proposed it to then-University president Benjamin Ide Wheeler. The idea of the bear mascot came from the California's state nickname, the 'Golden State,' which was derived from the long-ago discovery of golden bears by Spanish explorers. UC Berkeley's sports teams are collectively known as the Golden Bears, or variously as Cal Bears or just Cal. The bear has been the primary mascot for almost all major sports teams and many other organizations at UC Berkeley since its adoption in 1915. It is an integral part of University life and culture, strikingly visible on virtually every type of merchandise associated with Cal athletics. The bear is shown on the California state flag, which has a red star over a grizzly bear standing on a patch of grass in front of a rising sun.