Many Butler University professors, staff members and students have departed from the university in its 158-year history.
However, the school will be replacing a unique individual in March: Butler Blue II.
The nearly nine-year-old bulldog will pass on his duties as a live mascot to Trip in about a month.
Michael Kaltenmark, director of web marketing communications and handler of both live mascots, said he knew Blue II was nearing retirement at this time last year.
“He’s served admirably for so long, and he deserves to take a break,” Kaltenmark said.
Blue II’s retirement has less to do with his overall health than his age in general. Bulldogs have an average lifespan of eight to 12 years.
Trip will take on Butler’s live mascot responsibilities in Blue II’s wake. Kaltenmark said Trip has been able to get more experience than Blue II did when he was a puppy.
Blue II essentially began his job as a mascot when he was eight weeks old, immediately replacing Blue I.
“In some respects we’re ahead of the game, and in some respects we’re not,” Kaltenmark said. “Trip is further along than Blue was at this age. He’s better with children already.”
Trip has commonly been seen with Blue II prior to men’s basketball games.
It seems only fair that Blue II’s send-off will take place during such a game.
A “passing of the collar” ceremony is scheduled for Butler’s game against Xavier March 9. Reis-Nichols Jewelers will provide a custom-made collar for Blue II to pass on to Trip for the event.
While the ceremony is intended to signify the end of Blue II’s run as Butler’s official live mascot, Kaltenmark described retirement as “a loose term” for Blue II.
“Blue’s probably going to be on-demand a little throughout the spring through graduation,” Kaltenmark said. “Then we’ll really start to back it off.”
Kaltenmark said Blue II will continue to appear on campus, and community members will still be able to visit with him. Kaltenmark will also continue to run the dog’s Twitter account, which has 11,664 followers as of press time.
“Even as a retired mascot, he still has a voice, still has a face and is a recognizable entity of Butler University,” Kaltenmark said.
Many Butler students agree.
Kaltenmark said the outpouring of messages he received after announcing Blue II’s retirement had him “a little choked up.”
While freshman Lauren Smith has not been at Butler long, she said she feels Blue II is special to the university.
“He gives the school a good reputation,” Smith said.
Sophomore Alex Liddell described Blue II as “one of the most public faces of Butler University.”
“My only concern is that Trip doesn’t fully know the ropes,” Liddell said.
Kaltenmark said Trip, despite being just a year old, is chomping at the bit to take on complete mascot duties.
Sophomore Andrew Phillips said Blue II means a lot to the students.
“(Being a mascot) is a lot for a little dog,” Phillips said.
Kaltenmark said he continues to remember Blue II will still be around.
“He’s in great shape for an eight-year old bulldog,” Kaltenmark said. “He’s still going to come in every day.”