Ladies and gentlemen of the alumni audience, we
take great pleasure in presenting for your approval a new
matriculant at the college, the ingratiating rascal whose big feet,
cocked ears, and warm hearted puppy body adorn this page - The
With that, the Connecticut Alumnus announced through
its front page in January 1935 that Connecticut State College's
first husky mascot had arrived at the campus in Storrs.
The 1934 kidnapping of Rhode Island's ram
mascot aroused interest on campus for selecting a mascot for
Connecticut. A student poll came up with the husky - and the Alumnus, in the same article that told of the puppy's
arrival, announced its "Name the Mascot Contest".
winning entry, "Jonathan" was announced, sadly, the day
before the puppy was buried in Feburary 1935. It had darted in
front of an automobile near the home of its handler in North
Windham. The following fall, Jonathan II made his debut.
What has not been fully chronicled for some time is the history
of all the husky mascots. There have been eleven, although the
latest is named Jonathan XII.
There appears to have been a mistaken
effort in the early 1990s to account for an uncounted mascot - so
Jonathan IX became Jonathan X.
Research has not turned up reference
to a missing dog - although the mix up appears to stem from
Jonathan VI, who died less than two months after his arrival on
Four of the mascots account for more than 50 years of
Jonathan's 67 year history at Connecticut. Jonathans II, IV,
VII, and VIII each lived to over 14 years of age. Jonathans III and
VIII served in relative obscurity as interest in the University
mascot seemed to ebb.
Jonathan V was retired early because he
cowered in the presence of large crowds - a distinct liability at
football games and other such events. And as the search for a
replacement was underway, the first costumed-mascot appeared in
Through this photo essay, we present a complete, albeit brief,
history of Jonathan the Husky.
A year after Jonathan V retired in
1963, the University welcomed his successor. A Connecticut
Daily Campus editorial had said students were looking
"forward to meeting [Yale] in the fall with a Husky to meet
their formidable bulldog," predicting that the two-legged
Husky, the costumed mascot known as Homer the Husky, who had begun
filling in for the "shell-shocked" Jonathan V in 1963,
would soon be out of a job.
But "Homer the Husky" was
still on duty in the fall: just two months after being introduced
to campus, Jonathan VI died after being hit by a car.
Then in March 1965, Jonathan VII
came to campus as a gift from the student body of the University of
Alaska, who wanted to repay their UConn counterparts for donations
following an earthquake in Alaska.
He almost became the last in the
line. In 1970, the Student Senate - the predecessor to today's
Undergraduate Student Government - voted to sell the mascot because
the dog "represented the establishment", one of the
salvos in the ongoing protests against the war in Vietnam.
student petition saved the day - and the dog, which was turned over
to Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity, for
At the Homecoming football game in
1977, Jonathan VII was retired and Jonathan VIII introduced. It was
during his long tenure, in 1989, that University trustees
officially recognized the Husky as UConn's mascot. Jonathan
VIII died of cancer in May 1991.
When he arrived in July 1991, the
next mascot - an all-white Siberian husky puppy - was named
But just before his public debut in the fall, APO
announced that he was Jonathan X. At the time, it was said there
had been two dogs called Jonathan VIII, but there is no
verification in the public record. Jonathan IX (or X) died in 1995,
after being hit by a car.
Jonathan XI arrived on campus in
May, 1995, debuting just two weeks after the dedication of the
Husky dog statue outside Gampel Pavilion, and a month after the
women's team first won the NCAA basketball
As the popularity of UConn has
increased, so have requests for appearances by the mascot.
XII debuted in fall 2001, and attends athletic and other public
events, while Jonathan XI continues to represent the University
through an animal-therapy program that helps children and the
By Mark J. Roy
History of Jonathan - Part Two