Not your typical graduation...
My college graduation at The University of Texas at Dallas was something special. It genuinely felt like a movie. Not only was this a special moment of me accomplishing one of the biggest milestones in my life, but it was extra special by becoming part of a new tradition at UT Dallas, the unveiling of the mascot "Temoc" (aka. the world finding out I've been this alter-ego for the past 5 years, helping bring together this playful, quirky, character on campus).
Becoming the mascot (Temoc) was one of the best decisions I made here during my time at UTD. I originally joined the Spirit Programs as a Cheerleader my freshman year and remember one of my friends saying, “What if YOU were the mascot?! I mean, you have the school spirit.” I immediately said no and that it wouldn’t be something I’d ever do. A few days or weeks later, I had a dream about trying out as the mascot - a “vision,” if you’d say. I later tried out, made it, and have loved being the mascot ever since.
It gives you a whole new perspective of campus, student life, and your experience here at the university. It’s giving… literally main character energy, haha. But the best part was being able to go around campus and see students around me instantly light up as they rushed over, screamed Temoc’s name, took a selfie or video, or came in for a hug or high-five.
Eric Aaberg, UTD'23 & Lead Mascot "Temoc" 2018-2023
What is it like... being the mascot & face of your school?
Honestly, being a mascot is so much fun - it's everything. You essentially become the Hannah Montana of your university, are able to act like a completely different personality, do silly goofy things... and best part of it all: no one knows it's you.
Well... a lot of my friends eventually caught on over the years, and by the time of my senior year, a lot of my friend circle had known already. But majority of the student population is always left wondering "Who could Temoc possibly be?!"
I already was fairly a familiar face on campus (many times referenced as "Mr. UTD" and the face of UTD) due to the fact of how involved I was in student life, active on campus, and continuously made content on my personal social media. Because of this, it was definitely a strategy to keep my identity a secret. However, as the hours of being Temoc increased, so did my ability to play-off the two did (as well as my photoshop skills when I would photoshop me and Temoc together, as there was a good 3 years of being the only mascot of UTD).
The day the world found out the biggest secret of UT Dallas.
At All-University Commencement, a new tradition where the university leadership speaks in front of the entire graduation class outdoors, it was revealed by Aaron Aryanpur, the guest speaker alumni who created Temoc back in 1998, who was under the suit for the past 5 years.
Long Live Temoc
As the University Commencement concludes, the university’s largest secret unveils. 🧡💫
Over the past 4 years, I held the honor of bringing my best friend and the galaxy’s favorite comet to life. Being the university mascot and captain of the mascot program at UT Dallas, I saw a whole new perspective of our campus, student life, and my overall experience at UTD. Whether it was welcoming students at Orientation and hugging them during Weeks of Welcome or even high-fiving all of the graduates at Graduation, it brought a huge smile to my face (and Temoc’s - of course), seeing everyone instantly light up when Temoc entered the room. As students would scream out his name when they saw him, take a selfie or video with him, or even come in for a high-five or hug - Temoc opened his heart and love for all of the students around campus.
If you haven’t met Temoc yet, let me give you a quick summary about him:
Temoc is a friendly, sweet (sometimes sensitive and dramatic…), wholehearted Comet who loves making all students smile and laugh when out and about around campus. From his built appearance at first, he may seem a little scary, but once you get to know him - he’s truly a sweetheart. Speaking of sweets, he loves milkyway bars and starbursts (since he always sees himself as a true star), and he’s always been afraid of fire extinguishers.
Throughout the past few years, it was a pleasure to help grow the Mascot Team under @utdallasspirit to new heights (heights… even Enarc reaches).
Over the past 4 years, Temoc has received the following awards:
* 2019 NCA Most Collegiate Mascot
* 2021 NCA All-American Mascot
* 2022 NCA All-American Mascot
* 2022 Top 4 NCA Collegiate Mascot in the Nation
* 2023 Top 4 DTU Collegiate Mascot in the Nation
* 2023 NDA National Champion (Spirit Rally)
Thank you, Temoc, for not just being my own UTD Hannah Montana moment, the sweetest Comet and alter personality, but also for being my best friend. You help make everyone around you happy, and I couldn’t be prouder of you. U-T-D Whoosh! 🧡💫 #UTDGrad #UTDone #UTDallas
UT Dallas Class of 2023