In the early years of intercollegiate athletics, RPI teams were simply called the "Cherry and White." By 1921, the basketball team was referred to as the "Fighting Engineers" and gradually all teams were called the "Engineers." The name, however, was never personified into a mascot. The surveyor logo may have been an attempt to bring the name to life.
The Student Council held a mascot contest in the spring of 1953 and students voted on the finalists. "Bachelors" was the winning entry. Athletic teams were referred to as the Bachelors from 1953 to 1958.
In 1995, the Red Hawk was adopted as an official Rensselaer mascot. Athletic teams such as basketball, baseball, softball and soccer have adopted this as their team name. Other teams such as football, hockey and track & field have retained "Engineers" as their team name.