A long long l o n g time ago, before TheOpenEnd was a household name, I wrote an article on John Stormont, University of Miami’s original Sebastian the Ibis. Here it is:
The article was this close, I mean this close, to going viral. Maybe that’s why John Stormont’s son, Steve Stormont got in touch, first with a comment (yes, back in those days TOE had comments) and then, after comments were turned off forever, via email.
By stitching the pieces of Steve’s email, I’ve put together a kind of retrospective, so John Stormont (JS) is remembered and thoroughly documented for any curious UM historians the future may bring.
A TRADITION IS BORN as “Icky” the Ibis prances over the Orange Bowl turf at last Friday night’s game. Initiated by the residents of San Sebastian hall, “Icky” will get a new name which will be announced during tonight’s game.
Tradition Started As ‘Icky’ Is Born
A tradition has been started. It began at the Pep Rally Oct. 30 when a strange looking bird which somehow resembled Florida’s famous Ibis, and which stood eight feet high, reared its mammoth wings at the gala student gathering.
The bird’s temporary name is “Icky,” but the Pep Club ran a contest during this past week seeking a more permanent title. Each organization represented in the Pep Club suggested a title. The winning one will be announced in the Orange Bowl tonight.
“Icky” was the brainstorm of a couple of students living in San Sebastian during the past summer. But the new “mascot” wasn’t hatched until this fall when one of the San Sebastianites, John Stormont, 20-year-old junior majoring in motion pictures, came across some sheets of armolite insulation left behind by some other student.
The insulation, which is similar to stereophonic plastic, was used to make “Icky’s” head, while terry cloth was made to look like feathers for his body.
His feet were made from ROTC spats and his toes from burlap. Three friends of Stormont’s sewed the costume together.
“The whole costume took only three weeks to complete and cost about $30,” Stormont said.
Ouch, That’s Icky the Ibis You’re Tweaking
. . . Miami cheer leader Carol Baldwin and new pet mascot
UM’s ‘Bird’ Mascot Lays Egg As Vandy Wings to 28-15 Win
By Gene Miller
Herald Staff Writer
Icky the Ibis, the University of Miami’s carrot-nosed mascot, selected a sad night for a debut Friday.
The Orange Bowl patrons mistook him for just another Halloween character, a cheer leader tweeked his nose, and the golden-helmeted warriors of Vanderbilt beat the home team 28-15.
Icky, you see, is supposed to be South Florida’s famed ibis, a long-legged wading bird. And sort of a good luck charm.
Only this ibis sported tight yellow ballet britches, big orange toes, a droopy pillowed bottom and monstrous head made of burlap, bailing wire, and foam rubber.
Inside was a mum bespectacled college youth who said only that the dean had no objections.
After his Icky/Sebastian days, John Stormont graduated (A.B. ’60) and went on to lead quite an illustrious life. Stormont served in the U.S. Army, was a professor at the University of Miami and Miami-Dade Community College, and was a news editor at WPLG, Channel 10. He later moved to the Florida Keys and served as commissioner and mayor of Monroe County.
When John Stormont died in 2003, UM honored him by sewing his initials on Sebastian’s cap.
May he rest in peace.