The nickname "Dukes" goes back to the changing of the name of the university from The University of the Holy Ghost to Duquesne University of the Holy Ghost in 1911. The Duquesne name was chosen in honor of Marquis Duquesne, who built Fort Duquesne at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers in 1754, and is recognized as the first man to bring Catholic observances to the City of Pittsburgh.
Since a Marquis and a Duke dress similarly, the unofficial symbol of the school's athletic teams became a man dressed in a top hat, tails and a sash of royalty across his chest. "Dukes" being more readily known than "Marquis," the name Duke was popularly assigned to the symbol and stuck ever since the fall of 1911.
The Duquesne Department of Athletics unveiled its new "Duke" mascot prior to the Jan. 18, 2003 game vs. Richmond. The Duke, who sports a dapper navy blue suit with red piping, a red shirt with a red bow tie and red gloves, stands a shade over 7-feet tall complete with an oversized head and black top hat. The new Duke replaces "Duke the Bear" who was a fixture at DU athletic events since 1996.
Duquesne's school colors of red and blue, the colors of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, have been in place since the school's inception.