New Husky Dog Mascot To Make Debut September 22
By Mark J. Roy, Office of University Communications
STORRS, Conn. -- The new mascot for the University of Connecticut, Jonathan XII, a
Siberian Husky, will make his public debut this Saturday .
The new Jonathan
will make his debut at Memorial Stadium in Storrs, during the Sept.
22 football game against Buffalo, part of the University's annual Family
Weekend activities. After the game, the public can meet the puppy on
the Student Union Mall.
Husky pup, born April 16, is in the care of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed
service fraternity that has been responsible for UConn's mascots since
the early 1970s.
an economics major from Windsor and chair of the fraternity's Husky
Committee, has been training the puppy in recent weeks, preparing him for
his new role. She says the training has been going extremely well.
"At times I wonder who is training whom. He's a natural," she says.
is used to handling show dogs, she went through required training
sessions to become a handler for Jonathan.
Jonathan is the 12th mascot in a line that began in 1934. The year
before, UConn had just had a name change from Connecticut
Agricultural College to
Connecticut State College. Editors of the student newspaper,
The Connecticut Campus, began noting that they
could no longer refer to CSC athletes as
"Aggies," yet they found "Statesmen" an awkward nickname.
Coupled with the
nickname problem was the fact that then-football rival Rhode Island
State College (later the University of Rhode Island) had an animal mascot
and Connecticut didn't. In the fall of 1934, CSC students kidnapped
Rhode Island's Ramses II, and Campus editor Harold
Freckleton urged Connecticut students
to choose their own mascot.
A student poll
resulted in selection of the Husky, reportedly because the winters in
Storrs were like that of Canada's Yukon territory.
It has been a
common myth that the Husky was selected because of the sound-alike
"UConn" acronym, but the mascot was chosen five years before
the University of Connecticut, and it wasn't until the early 1940s that
"UConn" was used.
mascot, a black and white Husky, arrived on campus in December
1934. An Alumni Association contest resulted in naming him
Connecticut's Revolutionary War-era governor, Jonathan Trumbull
CSC mascot was cared for in the home of music professor Herbert
France - who later wrote the words and music to "UConn Husky",
the song familiar
to any fan of UConn athletics. But just weeks after arriving on campus
and making appearances at a few basketball games in Hawley Armory,
Jonathan I was
struck by a car and died.
Jonathan II, an
all-white Siberian Husky, and a cousin of the first mascot, made his
debut at a November 1935 pep rally prior to the annual game against
Island. All subsequent mascots have had white fur.
Jonathan XII will
make his campus debut nearly two years after his predecessor made
his last public appearance during Homecoming in October 1999. Still
working as a mascot, Jonathan XI continues to charm children and the
elderly by working in an animal therapy program.
September 2001 Releases