Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

VIEWPOINT: Welcome Back, Jack


The Hoya rightly holds Georgetown University administrators responsible for their failings and errors.

That being said, it is also important to acknowledge when the same administration succeeds in preserving and improving this institution that we have all come to love. 

After beloved live campus mascot Jack the Bulldog died in July 2023, clamor grew around campus as to the future of live mascots at Georgetown. For months, students speculated over Jack’s return as groups like People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) used Jack’s early death as evidence to call on the university to “end its cruel, archaic tradition of exploiting bulldogs as live mascots.”

On Nov. 30, Georgetown finally announced that a new Jack the Bulldog would arrive on campus. 

It is to the credit of University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95) and the university administration that the tradition of Jack the Bulldog continues. 

Since 1962, Jack has been a consistent and beloved presence on campus. Jack has provided comfort to students who needed his emotional support, added excitement to big basketball wins and given Georgetown a unique sense of identity. 

PETA and other animal rights groups call for an end to this tradition, arguing that bulldogs like Jack commonly suffer from a condition known as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This condition results from the way Jack the Bulldog’s specific breed, the English bulldog, has “flat faces and deformed nostrils.

Yet this argument rings hollow when considering the steps Georgetown can easily implement to preserve our new Jack’s health and safety, such as limiting Jack’s exposure to extreme temperature, noise and stress. Additionally, Jack the Bulldog adds to the overall value of campus life.

Jack is far from a circus animal — rather, he is a valued member of the Georgetown community and treated as such. The Jack Crew, a selective, well-run group of students who takes care of Jack’s daily life, attends to his every need and provides him with frequent walks and entertainment and a watchful eye for health complications. He is well-prepared for public life at Georgetown.

Additionally, learning from the experiences of the previous Jack the Bulldog, members of the Jack Crew are sure to be on the lookout for potential health complications with our new mascot.

The tradition of Jack the Bulldog benefits the Georgetown community in a myriad of ways. It is no secret that dogs are excellent for improving mental health, especially during the hectic chaos of finals season.

Jack also creates a sense of excitement and community among Georgetown students. Images of Jack the Bulldog grace our hoodies, our club logos and Georgetown marketing materials. There is even a statue devoted to Jack by the Healey Family Student Center. 

Jack is also important, even inspirational, to Georgetown parents and the alumni community — evident in the frequent trips Jack the Bulldog takes to greet adoring alumni from across the country. The Georgetown Alumni Association helped find the new mascot, while two Georgetown parents, Janice and Marcus Hochstetler, bred and trained the late Jack the Bulldog.  

A semester without Jack the Bulldog has already deeply affected our community, from a Welcome Back Jack barbecue without a Jack to welcome back, to the absence of a puppy to smile at during Georgetown basketball games. 

Freshmen such as myself began to acclimate to Georgetown without a live Jack the Bulldog. That robs Georgetown of much of its unique identity and charm. One only needs to check the social media feeds of other universities, such as Yale University’s posts featuring the bulldog mascot Handsome Dan, to see what we are missing. 

It is easy for organizations outside of the Hilltop to criticize our internal traditions. Yet Jack the  Bulldog means so much more to us as a community than it does to external organizations. As students, we shouldn’t forget how much Jack the Bulldog means to us and how essential his presence on our campus is for our collective school spirit and identity. 

It is for these reasons that Georgetown made the right decision in choosing to retain Jack. I hope the tradition of a live bulldog is maintained for many years to come.

In the meantime, welcome back, Jack, to your true home on the Hilltop.

Bobby Leon is a first-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences.


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