Our Habitat

The Baylor University Bear Program is committed to providing excellent care for Baylor's bears and serving the larger community by presenting unique educational experiences on American Black Bears. - Bear Program Mission Statement

The first bear arrived on campus in 1917. In 1940, the Baylor Chamber of Commerce was entrusted with the care of the Bear Program, future bears, and the habitat. Today the Bear Program, comprised of student leaders from within Chamber, is responsible for the comprehensive care of Joy and Lady. The Bear Committee and Lead Team provide the best care available to our bears, which includes but is not limited to: in-depth meal planning with nutrition specialists; feedings twice a day, every day of the year; cleaning the habitat regularly; facilitating additional weekly off-campus enrichment, training, and exercise; developing educational curriculum, trainings, and site visits for community engagement and education; providing general maintenance and upkeep of the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat; and monitoring and ensuring the overall health and well-being of the bears. These students are professionally mentored and trained by animal care experts each year.

It’s hard to measure the deep meaning our bears have to the Baylor community. With hundreds of visitors a day to the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat, our bears serve as a symbol of Baylor’s spirit and tradition. The most remarkable part of this tradition is the long-standing history of caring for live bears on campus. Generations of Baylor students and families are connected through this part of our story. The students who pass through the habitat on their way to class today are then connected to the generation before them who interacted and passed by our bears each day when they were students here, who then share a connection to the generation before them who too cared for and were connected to these living symbols of our purpose as an institution. The tradition of students caring deeply for one of the University’s most precious icons and partnering with the community in ways to educate and engage is a fitting illustration of what the Baylor experience is all about.

Visit our history page to learn more about when the first bear arrived on campus.

Watch the video below to find out more about Joy and Lady's daily care.



Campus Partners

Baylor administration, Division of Student Life, Marketing & Communications, and Aramark Dining & Facility Services, along with several other on-campus areas, work closely with the Bear Committee to provide the best care and safety for the bears. Baylor students in the Engineering Department designed hydraulic gates and transportation systems that are used daily by the trainers. The School of Education and the Bear Program partner in order to enhance curriculum delivery and visitor experience.