This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in June 1980, then was reprinted in Looking Back at Baylor (1985), a collection of Keeth and Harry Marsh’s historical columns for the Line. Blogging about Texas periodically features selections from Looking Back at Baylor, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.
Students and alumni proudly say, “I’m a bear!” when speaking of their time at Baylor. But, had history played out differently, they could have been saying, “I’m a buffalo!” or even “I’m a bookworm!” Neither has the same charm. Today, in honor of National “Hug A Bear Day,” learn more about how the Baylor Bear came to be (Note: we do not recommend trying to hug Joy or Lady!).
During the first seventy years of Baylor’s existence, the university chose no mascot with which to identify itself. Even when The University of Texas had become known as the “Longhorns,” Rice Institute had adopted the “Owls,” and Texas A&M employed the alternate designations of “Aggies and “Farmers,” Baylor’s intramural teams were known simply by the university’s name. After the selection of the school’s official colors in 1897, the athletes sometimes referred to themselves as the “Green-and-Golders.”Continue Reading