Mascot Mania To Create a Potpurri
Date: July 18, 2002
Of Decorated Bearcats
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Archive: Campus News
The University of Cincinnati campus will be crawling with a new litter of Bearcats this October as a result of a new decorating contest called Mascot Mania. Modeled after Cincinnati's Big Pig Gig, the project will feature 4-foot-3-inch Bearcat statues - all decked out by university departments, student groups and campus vendors.
The decorated "cat-tuettes" will be sold at a silent auction during the Saturday, Oct. 19 Presidential Ball to raise money for scholarships. However, the statues will remain on campus for an exhibition "growllery" at UC's Homecoming tent Saturday, Oct. 26 on the lawn in front of McMicken Hall on Clifton Avenue. The Mascot Mania "Cat Walk" will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during Homecoming.
UC Alumni Association Executive Director David Macejko announced plans for Mascot Mania at a news conference July 18 at the Alumni Center. The project is sponsored by the Alumni Association.
The first of the unadorned Bearcat models, covered in gray primer and weighing 50 pounds, was unveiled by Mr. Bearcat, UC's costumed mascot. A musical fanfare was provided by UC students Clint Bourgeois, Chad Swearingen, Matt Lanzoff and Robert Pugh of UC's Bearcat Bands.
"The UC Alumni Association developed this idea for fun!" said Macejko. "In addition to increasing the Cincinnatus President's Scholarship funds, creative ideas like Mascot Mania provide another reason for alumni to join us for Homecoming and the Presidential Ball."
"I really look forward to the community participating in this fun event that will showcase Homecoming, the Presidential Ball and raise funds for the Presidential Scholarship."
The menagerie of decorated Bearcats will compete for prizes. People attending Homecoming on Oct. 26 will vote for the Best Bearcat. The first-place winner will be announced and put on display at the Homecoming football game against Memphis at 2 p.m. in Nippert Stadium. A Mascot Mania Silent Auction at the Oct. 19 Presidential Ball will raise money for UC's Cincinnatus President's Scholarship Fund. Vendors and groups may bid on their own statues.
At the unveiling, Jeannette Songer, assistant dean of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, explained that the college is planning to create Elizabeth "Bearcat" Browning (left), "who represents one of the seven liberal arts," she said. Elizabeth will carry a book of "paw-etry." "She is really going to make us shine." Daria Lezina and Beth Fisher, two A&S student workers who are majors at the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP) and A&S, respectively, prepared the design. Work has not begun on constructing it.
"We feel that Arts and Sciences is the cornerstone college of the university and we felt it was critical to really have a presence in this particular event. It's a wonderful opportunity to build college cameraderie. It's a great way to promote the liberal or if you will, lib-"bear"-al arts," she told the staff, alumni and business representatives who attended the unveiling.
Michelle McBride of UC Athletics said athletics plans to turn over design of its Mascot to CPAWs, a student athletes service organization, and Becky Ruehl, the Olympic diver and 2000 graduate of DAAP. "We want this Bearcat to represent the competitiveness of all our student athletes and the various varsity sports in which they compete." CPAWS has just completed a Habitat for Humanity project, so the student athletes may think this is a "piece of cake" compared to the home construction they have been working on for the past several months, she said.
Vendors and members of the campus community interested in buying a Mascot to decorate may call Molly Flynn at (513) 556-3291 or visit the Mascot Mania web site.
Sponsors of this year's Homecoming are Liberty Mutual and Fifth Third Bank.
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