The crowd at Butler University’s Starbucks last Friday afternoon consisted of students, faculty, local media and even a couple from Los Angeles-—all for a dog.
Butler Blue II was celebrating both his birthday and retirement, with desserts for the crowd and a two-hour-long photo-op.
The Butler University Student Foundation plans the birthday party each year to commemorate Blue II and his legacy.
Michael Kaltenmark, director of web marketing communications and owner of the Butler mascots, said the number of people that showed up to this event is a marker for Blue II’s legacy.
“There’s a lot of love for the dog,” Kaltenmark said. “This party is significant on a level of school pride and spirit, as well as the impact that Blue has had on this place.”
One way Blue has impacted people across the nation is seen through the story of Myra De Jesus, a Los Angeles native and an avid college basketball fan.
De Jesus said she and her boyfriend do not have a main basketball team they root for, but Butler’s Cinderella run in two consecutive NCAA tournaments introduced them to Butler.
The couple first saw Blue II in Butler’s first Final Four appearance.
De Jesus said she and her boyfriend had been planning a trip to Chicago, but when they heard about the party, they made sure to make time to drive to campus.
“I was so drawn to the story,” De Jesus said. “But it was the Final Four when I first saw the Butler Bulldog and I fell in love with him.”
Levester Johnson, vice president for student affairs, said the outpouring of support shows that Blue has a hand in where Butler is as an institution.
He said even though the students, faculty, staff and alumni will miss Blue, the mascot has held a special place in his heart.
“I am going to miss Blue immensely,” Johnson said. “He was literally a partner in crime when we traveled the country along with Michael.”
Kaltenmark said BUSF has been putting this event on for several years, but members may have to change the setup for Trip’s birthdays.
Trip’s birthday is Dec. 23, which falls in the middle of holiday break, so BUSF may keep the same date in spring and utilize it as a mascot appreciation day.
A recent celebrity who has risen to fame along with both mascots’ is Everett Kaltenmark, the two-year-old son of the mascots’ owner.
He has gone viral discussing his thoughts on Butler basketball while playing at home with the dogs.
Everett was in attendance at Blue’s party, and whether he was playing with the dogs or with a basketball, he had one thing to say:
“Happy Birthday, Blue.”