magazine-category: Featured Story

Getting to Know Bo

GWU mascot Bo the bulldog

English Bulldog Puppy is Full-Time Ambassador for Runnin’ Bulldogs

A new face on the Gardner-Webb campus draws a crowd wherever he waddles. Live mascot, Bo, an English bulldog, was officially introduced to the campus community at the Fall Academic Convocation on Aug. 24, 2021.

His predecessor, Roebuck, a 7-year-old English bulldog, retired and has been designated with mascot emeritus status. The new pup is from a breeder in Garner, N.C. His name was selected from more than 200 entries submitted for consideration. “Historically, ‘Bo’ derives as a nickname meaning ‘to live’ or ‘living’—making it a perfect match for the infusion of life we’re bringing to this new era of Bulldog sports,” noted GWU President Dr. William M. Downs. Karen Davis, administrative assistant to the dean and copy cataloger in the GWU Library, submitted the name, Bo, after studying his picture and doing a little research. “I thought the puppy looked like a Bo,” she said. “I looked up the characteristics of the name, and a couple of the adjectives are powerful and tough.”

Bo the GWU mascotThe University plans to involve Bo in full-time activities with the enrollment team, alumni group, athletics teams and community groups as well. He will be a full-time ambassador for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

“We know many were sad to hear that Roebuck would be retiring, but the joy of watching our puppy grow to become our much-loved mascot is exciting,” shared Kim Kreuzman, GWU social media manager. “He’s got some big paws to fill, and he is already working on bulldog basics—sit, stay, and high-five!”

A university staff member (and family) are Bo’s caretakers, and others across the campus community will be designated to provide daily attention, support and training for him. Dr. Deana Moseley Lawrence of Hope Animal Hospital in Shelby, N.C., will provide veterinary services.

History of the Live Mascot

Throughout the years, the bulldog has been represented in numerous forms. Live bulldogs, costumed mascots and athletic branded logos have all been featured in some fashion for GWU.

Names like Butch, Chins, Victor, Barney and Roebuck have been attached to the live bulldog mascots. Mack, Mac and Lulu have been connected to the costumed mascots, and the branded athletic logo has carried the names Mack and Mac.

Founded in 1905 as a boarding high school (Boiling Springs High School), the first recorded usage of the bulldog as a mascot for the school was in 1922.

Butch I (1944-1953)

As the Boiling Springs High School transitioned to a college carrying the name of a former North Carolina Governor, O. Max Gardner, and his wife, Fay Webb Gardner, Gardner-Webb College introduced the first live mascot. Butch I lived at the home of football coach Wayne Bradburn, and later long-time Dean of Instruction, J.O. Terrell.

Butch II (1953-1955)

Gardner-Webb Football player Gerald Freeman (Shelby, N.C.) allowed his family bulldog to serve as the adopted mascot during a transitional period as the school searched for a permanent replacement.

Chins (1955-1960)

Chins graced the Gardner-Webb campus thanks to community supporters Hubert Seaford Plaster, a Shelby, N.C. dentist, and his wife, Ruth Howie Plaster, an instructor of organ at Gardner-Webb. They served as caretakers for the next Gardner- Webb Mascot, Chins, for five years.

Victor I (1960-1969) and Victor II (1969-1970)

Horace “Bud” McSwain, 1952 alumnus, Boiling Springs postmaster, and supporter for the Gardner-Webb athletics program, provided his services for 10 years as the relationship liaison between two live mascots and the school.

Barney (2010-2014)

Barney was the family member of Lou Ann Scates, Gardner-Webb registrar, her husband, Doug, and son, Andy. Dr. Dee Hunt, vice president of Student Development, and GWU President Dr. Frank Bonner, agreed it was time after several decades to revitalize the live mascot program for the University and officially inaugurated Barney into the Runnin’ Bulldog family as a young pup. Barney retired in 2014 and passed away in October 2020.

Roebuck (2015-2021)

Roebuck, under the care of Brooke Greene, was named in honor of Mike Roebuck, an avid runner, cyclist, and triathlete. Mike had worked at Gardner-Webb for nearly 20 years in roles like assistant athletics director for Academic Services and director of Financial Aid. Mike passed away unexpectedly on March 4, 2015, yet his name still lived on when Roebuck was introduced.

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