Origins of the D-men













Location: 2nd row of pillars north of Belden closest to the A.C. building.

Installed:  Aug. 2017

Every year, DePaul receives many letters and emails asking how a Catholic institution can feature an image of a devil as its mascot. The name actually has very innocent origins, though. In 1907, the university had just changed its name from ‘St. Vincent’s College’ to ‘DePaul University,’ and the student athletes wore a large chenille ‘D’ monogram on their team sweaters. At practically every event, people saw the men from DePaul and their ‘D’ letter sweaters, and remarked, ‘Hey, look at those D-men!’ Students liked the name, and kept it until the 1920’s when the student body officially changed it to ‘Demons.’

In 1907 it became apparent that there should be a distinction between the university and the DePaul Academy high school program for boys. At the time, both schools had scarlet and blue as their colors, so primary colors were designated for each school: the university took the blue as their main color, and the academy took scarlet. Because of the blue, the university athletic teams were referred to as the ‘BLUE’ D-men, and eventually in the 1920’s, the Blue Demons.

The design of the pillar features many aspects of DePaul that are little known today. For example, DePaul had football and baseball programs at one time. Where did they play, you might wonder, as the campus was situated in the middle of a residential neighborhood? Right behind St. Vincent DePaul Church, before there was an Alumni Hall and then Student Center there.

The pillar prominently features the likeness of Joe Wilhoit. Wilhoit was a stellar DePaul athlete in 1908, and an original Blue D-man. He starred in four sports, including football, baseball, basketball and track. When he graduated he went on to be the only DePaul alum to play Major League Baseball, playing outfield for the Boston Braves, Pittsburg Pirates, New York Giants and Boston Red Sox from 1915-1919, ending his career with a .231 lifetime batting average. Wilhoit is remembered in the records of professional baseball for having the longest hitting streak, with hits in 68 straight games.