We’re a few weeks into the year now, folks, and that means many things have started back up again. The Corp is churning out coffee, a cappella groups can be seen spontaneously bursting into song and Hoya Blue is back encouraging all of us to put our best and most-spirited selves out there at all athletic events. And for me, personally, it means the tour season has shifted back into full swing.
Standing on the patio of White-Gravenor looking out at the variety of people dying to call Georgetown their home someday, my mind is going a thousand miles a minute behind my smile. I wonder if the people in front of me will be attentive, if they’ll tell me if I’m about to run into a small child and last, but certainly not least, what kind of crazy questions these people are going to come up with today.
You’d be surprised how many absolutely ridiculous queries I get on tours. “How many times can I go into Lauinger Library a day?” “Can I have your e-mail address?” “My son couldn’t make it today, but I feel like the two of you would really get along … ” “Can freshmen get into the ‘Twister Keg Party?'” That last one merits a special ‘thank you’ to the residents of Village A, for that lovely, enormous sign.
But some questions I get every time, without fail, and this week was no different. From the tall dad in the back, “When was this building completed?” to the small girl to the far left, “Are there vegetarian options?” And the wonderful woman from California to whom this article is due, “I know what a ‘hoya’ is, but where did Jack the Bulldog come from?”
It took me a second to excuse her prepositional finish and to realize that she wasn’t asking me about the birds and the bees, bulldog version (phew). Instead, she wanted the history of our beloved mascot, and I cheerfully gave her my spiel about the absurdity of having a question mark as a mascot and how we adopted Jack from one of the Jesuits living on campus and claimed him as our own. And then I looked into it. And I was wrong.
It turns out that’s not how it happened at all. Forty-nine years ago a group of students arguing that our talented athletes were tenacious, like bulldogs, formed a committee and purchased a two-year old English bulldog. They planned to call him “Hoya,” but as is typical of a bulldog (and future Jacks to come), he would have nothing of it. His name was Jack. It had been his name before his arrival, and he refused to answer to anything but. Jack won his first battle and started his own tradition.
But that’s not the end of the story. At some point through the years, a student in a bulldog suit replaced the idea of a permanent mascot. This worked just fine, but students missed the presence of a real, obstinate canine on campus. So began the “Bring Back Jack” campaign by a group of seniors in 1999. It didn’t take long before a living, breathing bulldog once more represented us. The new Jack (now called “the elder”) got to campus in March of 1999 and called Georgetown his home until he and his caretaker retired in 2003. Sadly, he passed away two weeks ago, but he will always be remembered as our first beloved bulldog.
The Jack that followed him is the one we all know and love. He made it to campus on July 19, 2003 and has been riding around in his little golf cart and drinking out of water bottles ever since. Fun fact: Our Jack isn’t actually related to his direct predecessor, but he is from the same line as Georgetown’s mascot at the time of Patrick Ewing.
So, the next time someone asks you about Jack, say more than just “He’s the most spoiled individual on campus” (which I agree is true, by the way) and “It’s rumored to be harder to get onto the ‘Jack Crew’ than it is to get into Georgetown.” You can tell them that yes, he always gets his way; and yes, students dedicate themselves to pouring over the 15-page manual that details the proper way to remove his excrement from our beautifully manicured lawns. But, make sure to mention that like the students he proudly represents, he started a tradition all his own.
Sydney Schauer is a junior in the College. She is a board member and the tour coordinator of Blue and Gray. IT’S TRADITION appears every other Tuesday.