Our mascots

J Denny and Jenny
J. Denny and Jenny Beaver, Bluffton University's mascots

Why the Beavers? 

In the late 1920s A.C. Burcky, long-time coach and athletic director, suggested using the beaver as mascot because it represented the spirit of Bluffton student-athletes in the following ways:

  • Resourceful 
  • Indefatigable (doesn't tire easily) 
  • Small 
  • Accomplishes more with less ("works with twigs, building up large things from small") 
  • Works to leave the world a better place ("never does things any worse than its ancestors did") 
  • Taken from Dancing with the Kobzar, Bluffton's centennial history

  • J. Denny and Jenny Beaver 

    Beaver revealThe true identities of J Denny and Jenny performers for 2017-18 were revealed Saturday Feb. 3 between the men's and women's basketball games!

    Congratulations and thank you Carrie Blust, Caitlin Haab, Tessa Short and Riley Wilcox! The Reveal!

    Friend J Denny and Jenny on Facebook   

  • History of J. Denny Beaver

More than a year of planning culminated with the introduction of J. Denny Beaver, as Bluffton's mascot in September 2010. Naming the mascot in honor of Dr. J. Denny Weaver, professor emeritus of religion, captures a historical connection and tells a story, according to Robin Bowlus, public relations director.

Weaver was a faculty member from 1975-2006 and served as Bluffton's faculty athletics representative for 22 of those years. "Denny Weaver is a leading theologian and was at every sporting event," Bowlus noted, adding that "his passion for academics and sports" made him a natural choice to be so honored.

Bucky BeaverBUCKY BEAVER, the previous mascot, retired in 2007-08 after more than 20 years of service. He asked to retire with little fanfare so he could return to the banks of The Riley with little intrusion from the local paparazzi. In an alumnote update, he mentioned enjoying his retirement, building dams with tree limbs broken from storm damage and spending time visiting with friends on the banks near the Mennonite Home Communities of Bluffton. 

The following year, when planning group members began thinking about a successor, their goals included an athletic-looking character representative of Bluffton's "power beaver" logo, but still approachable for children and embodying "the spirit of a Bluffton student-athlete," Bowlus said.

<<< Bucky Beaver

New traditions of the mascot include an audition-based selection process; use of multiple students in the suit in an effort to keep identities secret; training the students characteristics that will be common, such as a walk, regardless of who is in the costume; and, at the end of each year, a ceremony to reveal the identities of seniors serving as the mascot. J. Denny Beaver has appearances planned at some Marbeck Center Board-sponsored events as well as at athletic events.

J. Denny's and Jenny's costumes were created by Street Characters Inc., a Canadian company that has designed mascots for more than 100 colleges and universities and about 30 teams combined in the National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.
Paper mache head The costume is at least the third in Bluffton history; the first is believed to be a paper-mache head and furry body made and donned by students in 1967. But the beaver mascot goes back 40 years before that, to 1926-27.

In fall 2014, Jenny Beaver made her debut on campus to share the mascot duties. The eventual addition of a female mascot had been envisioned when J. Denny was introduced, in order to allow shorter students to "get in the suit."  Get Jenny's story. 


  • Past performers
    Brandon Fullenkamp
    Jonathon Luginbill
    Zeke Tracy 
    Emily Shellabarger
    Andy Chafee
    Kourtney Lewis 
    Abby Graber 
    Kayla Geiger 
    Jamie Paye 

    Sarah Dailey
    Jeremy Amstutz

    Alex Parker 
    Lezlie Thompson 
    Daila Moore 
    Amber Steinke 
    Jeremy Amstutz
    Mickie Gonwick 
    Abby Jerger 
    Hannah Krull 
    Jenna Moreo 
    Katie Keesbury 
    Katie Keesbury 
    Micayla Hanover 
    Sarah Oliver 
    Ryan Golden 
    Carrie Blust 
    Caitlin Haab 
    Tessa Short
    Riley Wilcox 

J. Denny and Jenny Videos

Who are J. Denny and Jenny? (January 2018) 
Spreading holiday cheer
 (December 2017)
Welcome to the Village of Bluffton
 (November 2017)
Top secret mascot mission
 (Who's in the suit? January 2017)
The Night before Finals (December 2016)
Bluffton Madness selection show (March 2016)
The real J. Denny and Jenny Beavers are (January 2016)
The 12 Stresses of Finals (December 2015)
And the real J. Denny and Jenny Beavers are...(January 2015)
Who is in the suit? (January 2015)
J. Denny and Jenny Deck the Halls
 (December 2014)
Welcome, Jenny (Aug. 24, 2014)
J. Denny's Got Mail ( April 28, 2014)
Everybody's Got Somebody but J. Denny (Feb. 13, 2014)
And J Denny in 2014 is...  ( Feb. 18, 2014)
We Wish you a Merry Christmas ( Dec. 10, 2013)
A Day in the Life... (Oct. 31, 2013)
2013 J. Denny Beaver "beheading" (Feb. 14, 2013)
J. Denny the Purple-Shoed Beaver  (Dec. 12, 2012)
Look Out World. J Denny is Two Years Old (June 21, 2012)
2012 J. Denny Beaver "beheading" (Feb. 8, 2012)
Will the real J. Denny please stand up? (Feb. 6, 2012)
It's J. Denny Beaver's Birthday (June 17, 2011)
It's Time (to break ground for the Health and Fitness Education Center) (July 5, 2011)
2011 J. Denny Beaver "beheading" (Feb. 16, 2011)   
Who is the "real" J. Denny? (Feb. 14, 2011)
Merry Christmas from J. Denny (Dec. 16, 2010)
J. Denny Beaver meets J. Denny Weaver (Oct. 9, 2010)
J. Denny Beaver is introduced (Aug. 31, 2010)
Lonely mascot video (Aug. 23, 2010)
Sports montage  (Aug. 10, 2010)