Students Today … Yankees Forever?

Jonathan V. (University Library Archives & Special Collections)
Jonathan V. This podcast explores how in the 1960s, the University toyed with the possibility of a future without Jonathan. (University Library Archives & Special Collections)

It’s a persistent story about UConn’s beloved mascot that has even been endorsed by some official publications: at the height of unrest in the 1960s, the student government attempted to sell Jonathan the Husky, disdaining the proud pup as a symbol of the hated Establishment.

The only trouble with the story is, there appears to be no trace of it in the archives of the Daily Campus, the Nutmeg, or the Hartford Courant. Is it possible such a major event somehow evaded the media?

Thanks to an article by Daily Campus reporter Ashley Anglisano, there’s now a plausible explanation: in the mid-1960s, following the death of a mascot in a car accident, UConn toyed with the idea of replacing the husky with a human avatar of institutional spirit – the Connecticut Yankee.

President Homer Babbidge, a Yale-trained historian, always wanted UConn’s mascot to reflect the state’s colonial past, and thought the Yankee was an ideal representation of the school. Fortunately, though, a timely gift from the students of the University of Alaska put an end to any possibility of a future without Jonathan, as this podcast explains.

Listen to the podcast (from episode 28):

For full episodes of the UConn 360 podcast, visit uconn.edu/uconn360-podcast.