J. Denny and Jenny Beaver
More than a year of planning culminated with the introduction of J. Denny Beaver, Bluffton's new 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.
The previous mascot, Bucky Beaver, retired in 2007-08 after more than 20 years of service. 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.
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.
The new beaver costume was 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.