ANNAPOLIS – Maryland’s millennium mascot has been named after the state.
The top-hatted, gender-bending figure has been dubbed Terrae 2000, taking a cue from the Latin name for Maryland, Terrae Mariae, found on the state seal.
The winning name is a massaged version of the entry sent in by College Park resident Rob Stern, 32. Stern submitted the name “Terry 2000” because the name, like the mascot, is unisex and Stern thought the mascot looked like a terrapin, the University of Maryland mascot. Stern is an alumnus of UMD’s University College.
“Terry” was modified into “Terrae” by the millennium commission, which is coordinating statewide activities to promote the next century, said spokeswoman Christine Duray.
Stern’s submission was one of about 50 entries received by phone and e-mail, Duray said. Because the massaged name is a derivative of the name Stern submitted, with the same pronunciation, the commission felt justified in awarding Stern the prizes, Duray said.
Stern, an information specialist for the American Hotel & Motel Association, said he had no problem with using the Latin root.
“It sort of flows,” he said.
Stern is no stranger to contest awards. He said he enters contests as a hobby and has “won a lot of things by chance,” including a trip to the Bahamas.
For this winning submission, he will receive two tickets to the University of Maryland vs. North Carolina State football game on Saturday, dinner for two at a Phillips seafood restaurant, two tickets to a 1999 Orioles game and a signed picture of Orioles’ pitcher Mike Mussina. While Stern is goofing off Saturday, the mascot will be working. It will appear in Baltimore’s Thanksgiving Parade on Saturday, clad in a red, black and gold dress patterned after the state flag. It will sport a black top hat adorned with gold garland and the words “Celebration 2000.” -30-