Biology grad student surprised her idea gets chosen; says 'it's a simple name and you can cheer it out'

Chris Casey
University Communications
February 7, 2013

Student Juliana Valera stands with Milo the Lynx, the mascot she named

By Chris Casey | University Communications

DENVER – Milo.

The name of the University of Colorado Denver’s new mascot popped into the head of CU Denver graduate student Juliana Valera while she was riding on light rail. Valera was completing an online survey sent out last fall by the Student Government Association. One question asked for a name suggestion for the lynx mascot.

“I wanted to choose something that represented Denver because we’re an urban campus,” she said. “That’s something that makes us unique, and I really like that about our campus.”

She thought of how Denver is the Mile High City. Miles sounded good, but she remembered that that’s the name of the Denver Broncos’ mascot. Then she thought about how the CU Denver campus is located in Lower Downtown.

Mi. Lo.

“I just kind of combined the two,” Valera said. “It’s a simple name and you can cheer it out.”


It caught the ear and imagination of the SGA representatives on the university’s mascot committee. Among the many name suggestions the survey generated, Milo stood out.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Valera, a graduate student in molecular biology in the Department of Integrative Biology. “I never thought they would choose a name I picked.”

For her creativity, Valera received a $25 gift certificate to the Auraria Bookstore.

As for her first glimpse of the full-size Milo the Lynx in the flesh … er … fur costume, Valera said, “He looks great. I think (the name) suits him really good.”


Written by Chris Casey

Chris Casey is content manager for University Communications. A writer with over 20 years of experience at newspapers in Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon, he produces content for the CU Denver Today and CU Anschutz Today websites and newsletters. He welcomes your story ideas.

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