George Fox University's Bruin mascot comes from a real bear captured in 1887, just two years after Pacific Academy (the university's predecessor) was established. The small cub was found in the Coast Range's foothills near Carlton, Ore., about 15 miles west of Newberg, after its mother had been shot. The young cub was brought to the campus by a student, and later lived with a faculty member.
When the bear grew to adulthood, it was kept in a pit in Hess Creek canyon south of the campus. Years after, the hide was preserved on a frame and displayed in an early campus museum. When the hide began to deteriorate, it was taken to a campus furnace room to be destroyed, but the framework proved a problem in dismantling, so it was left sitting in a corner.
Students later found the old bearskin and began skirmishes over ownership, a tradition that continues today, even though the original is long gone. "Bruin Junior," a replica, is fought over periodically in living area competitions under a set of guidelines passed down for years, with the living area that is able to physically drag the Bruin replica off campus declared the rightful owner until the next time it is "flashed" on campus.
Even with the long Bruin tradition, the "Quaker" tag for athletic teams came into popularity with sportswriters during the 1950s and 1960s because of the school's affiliation with the Friends denomination. That nickname, along with a mascot named "Foxy George," a little fox with a Quaker hat, was used for a while until a vote of faculty, students, and administration in 1970 reinstated the Bruin nickname to its rightful place.
The physical Bruin mascot named Pennington is a brown bear who's far from fearsome, reflects the traditions of George Fox in the clothes he wears, and is a familiar face in the local community. He has his own kids club, the Penn Pals, which offers a great way to meet Bruin coaches and athletes, to see Bruin athletic events for free, to spend time on a university campus at a young age, and to have fun with friends.
Pennington pays tribute to the traditions of George Fox in the clothing he wears. His shirt is reminiscent of the athletic uniform styles of George Fox athletics in the 1960's and his hat is symbolic of the "beannie" hats worn by freshmen during their first week of classes as early as the 1920's as an initiation into George Fox.
Click here to see the current George Fox Bruin Athletics logos.