Baylor Launches $50,000 Mascot Endowment Campaign

Oct. 23, 1996

A $50,000 endowment campaign to provide care for the Baylor University bear mascots has been launched by the university's Waco Area Young Graduates Foundation.

The bear was selected as the mascot for the institution in 1914 and over the years approximately 50 bears have served in that role, according to Baylor graduate student Brandon Adley, a former bear trainer and coordinator of the campaign.

"Twenty percent of the $50,000 goal has already been pledged by two former members of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce," said Adley. "We anticipate that many former chambermen and other alumni, as well as those who have enjoyed the bears over the years, will want to contribute to the Bill Boyd Endowed Mascot Fund." Boyd was the owner and original handler of the popular and talented "Joe College," who served as the university mascot in the 1930s and early 1940s.

The Baylor Chamber of Commerce, one of the university's oldest student organizations, has provided for the care and training of the bears since the mid-1930s. Beginning in 1974 each mascot has been titled "Judge" along with the name of an individual the Chamber has chosen to honor or memoralize. The current mascot, "Ginny," is named in honor of former dean of women Virginia Crump.

The mascots, usually obtained from Bear County U.S.A. in South Dakota, are retired after approximately two years and donated to an organization capable of providing the kind of nurture and care that the animals received while at Baylor, said Adley. His bear, "Bobby," who served as mascot from 1994-96, now makes his home at the Austin zoo.

Anyone who makes a contribution of $25 or more will receive a copy of the newly published book, Here Comes the Bears, according to Adley. The publication was commissioned by the Baylor Chamber last year and then endorsed by the Waco Area Young Graduates Foundation. It was written by Dr. Eugene W. Baker, former Baylor chief of staff and university historian.

The coffee-table book is an illustrated history of the university mascots since the first one came to the campus 79 years ago, said Adley. The book, subtitled "The Story of the Baylor Bear Mascots," contains information and pictures of the animals, their trainers, and the various habitats of the mascots. Among the approximate 75 photographs are those of university president, Dr. Robert B. Sloan Jr., and his three precedessors, W. R. White, Abner V. McCall and Herbert H. Reynolds. Each president is with at least one of the more popular mascots that served during the last 40 years. In addition, the book provides historical glimpses of Baylor's growth and development since its founding in 1845.

The university's Board of Regents will receive the first copies of the book on Friday, Oct. 25. It will go on sale later that day at various locations on the Baylor campus. Cost is $19.95 and all proceeds beyond printing expenses will go to the Bill Boyd Endowed Mascot Fund. After the university's annual Homecoming celebration, Oct. 25-27, the book will be available in the Baylor Bookstore as well as in other local bookstores, according to Adley.

For more information, contact Brandon Adley at 666-4827 or Belinda Miller in the Baylor office of development at 755-2561.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?