Baylor Bear Mascots
Another responsibility of the Chamber has been the maintenance of the bear mascots. The first bears were given to the University in 1917, and the Chamber assumed responsibility for them soon afterwards.
The Bear Pit, the greatest physical evidence of the work of the Chamber on the Baylor campus, has undergone a series of renovations. In 1949 and 1953, little cages were added. It was also in 1953 that a special trailer was purchased to transport the mascot to the games. In 1962, another new cage was added to accommodate the growing mascot population.
In 1950, Mrs. Essie Forrester O'Brien wrote a history of the bear mascots since 1914, when the idea of a mascot was first proposed. Sponsored and distributed by the Chamber, The Baylor Bear Mascots chronicled the first live bears, as well as the early trainers. The proceeds of this book were applied to the Chamber's pledge for the stadium fund. In 1969, the pit was again remodeled and the book was revised by Mrs. O'Brien. This time, the proceeds were earmarked for the permanent fund established to maintain the mascots.
The year 1976 marked a complete renovation of the Bear Pit area, as well as the renaming of the area as the Steve Hudson Memorial Bear Plaza.
The current habitat, The Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat, was opened in 2005 and includes many features that make that space more natural for the bears. Features include a waterfall, river, caves, as well as a spacious indoor facility where the bears spend their nights.
Current Mascots - Judge Joy Reynolds - "Joy" (for Joy Reynolds, who is the wife of Dr. Herbert H. Reynolds)and Judge Sue Sloan - "Lady" (for Baylor's first lady Sue Sloan, who is the wife of Dr. Robert Sloan)