Path: Traditions / Jack the Bulldog /
History of GU Dogs
Dogs have long shared the hilltop with Georgetown students. For much of Georgetown's history, however, dogs played the role of mascot only in a loose sense. Sometimes they acted as watchdogs, protecting the campus grounds from outsiders (and the kitchen's food from insiders!); other times they were simply pets of one of the Jesuits. In the 20th century, however, various dogs began to be informally associated with Georgetown athletics, including the famous Stubby who entertained football fans by nudging a football around the field. For much of the early and mid-20th century, Georgetown used Boston bull terriers as mascots, with the exception of "Butch," a Great Dane who was popular with the local media.
The mascot tradition at Georgetown took a new turn when the school chose to have an English bulldog as its official mascot. A student committee, led by Stan Samorajczyk (COL'64) and John Feldmann (COL'64), sports editors for The Hoya, had pushed for the change, arguing that Georgetown athletes were "tenacious" like bulldogs. Through the sale of "bulldog shares," dances and an exhibition basketball game, the committee was able to raise the needed $150 to purchase a young show dog named "Lil-Nan's Royal Jacket." The students had originally considered renaming the dog, but he refused to respond to anything but his original call name, "Jack" -- thus starting Georgetown's "Jack the Bulldog" tradition.
Eventually, however, the live mascot was replaced by a student in a bulldog suit. While local bulldogs were sometimes recruited to play the role of Jack at basketball games, Georgetown did not have a live mascot on campus for most of the 70's, 80's and 90's. A collective effort by Hoya Blue co-founders Michael Boyle (MSB'00) and Austin Martin (COL'99), Kathleen Long (COL'99) of the Senior Class Committee, and Fr. Scott Pilarz, S.J. (COL'81), then professor in the English Department changed all that. After another round of administration-lobbying and student-led fundraisers, the group acquired a new Jack for Georgetown (this time for $1500) and welcomed him onto the campus with great fanfare in February of 1999.
Jack quickly became part of campus life and was a regular at athletic events. He was, however, retired in May of 2003 in order to follow his caretaker, Fr. Pilarz, who had been named president of the University of Scranton. At that time, Fr. Steck, S.J., a professor in the Department of Theology, took on the responsibilities for locating a new mascot and caring for him once he arrived. Using funds left over from the previous campaign, along with additional donations from the Office of the President, the Hoya Hoop Club, and a special donation from Hoop Club member Bob Hohmann, Fr. Steck was able to obtain a 12 week old puppy from the Brookhollow Kennel, a breeder of numerous bulldog champions in Freehold, NJ. The new mascot arrived in July of 2003. For two months, Fr. Steck lived with Jack in the basement of Gervase and, with the help of Joe Gerics (MSB'01) and Joe Folio (COL'03), taught him the basics regarding appropriate canine behavior around indoor carpet and household furniture.
Whether it's playing in the hallway in New South, getting visitors at the Jesuit community, or attending campus events with their free food, the latest Jack loves being on the Hilltop. He enjoys Hoya sports, in particular the basketball games at the Verizon Center where he gets to entertain fans with his on-court antics. Yet, through it all, he finds time for many daily naps, conserving his energy, we hope, for many years to come.