Yale’s Official Mascot

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Handsome Dan, Yale's official mascot

Yale’s Official Mascot

In this article, we will get to know Handsome Dan XIX (perhaps the only Dan you will fall instantly and over again), Yale University’s very own mascot, and how it shapes this Ivy League school.

What is Yale’s official mascot?

The esteemed role of Yale University’s official mascot has been filled by the most recent Handsome Dan; Handsome Dan XIX. Yale University made the announcement that the most revered bulldog and Yale icon had arrived in New Haven.

Handsome Dan XIX, the latest addition to the illustrious line of Handsome Dans, will take over the title and responsibilities involved in being Yale University’s official mascot. The declaration was made in a determined effort to bring more happiness to the people who are a part of the Yale community.

Mascots are one of the most time-honored types of university branding, and despite their age, they continue to play an important role in the marketing of the university itself.

A pitbull, the inspiration behind Yale's official mascot

The mascot experience for both the wearer and the audience is mainly about recognition and school spirit. This makes the mascot the ideal representative for educational institutions like colleges and universities.

Since at least the year 1890, the Yale University bulldog has been used as the institution’s official mascot. It is generally agreed that Handsome Dan was the first live animal to act in the capacity of a school mascot.

Handsome Dan is an extremely energetic bulldog. He is one of the members of the Yale community who is both the most well-known and the most actively involved.

When the dog isn’t “cheering on” Eli athletes from the sidelines, he’s making appearances at university fundraisers, posing with U.S. presidents, acting in student films, and even helping out with Commencement activities, such as leading the procession alongside University President Peter Salovey.

The new puppy is an Olde English Bulldogge, exactly like his predecessor, Handsome Dan XVIII. Handsome Dan XVIII just moved to New York with his human companion, Kevin Discepolo ’09.

The Olde English Bulldogge is a breed of dog that is robust and healthy, with a propensity to live for a longer period of time than the standard English bulldog.

How did Handsome Dan get his name?

How did Handsome Dan obtain his name? According to the website for Yale University, a Yale alum and former football and crew athlete named Andrew Graves, a member of the class of 1892, purchased a dog from a blacksmith for the price of five dollars and named it “Handsome Dan.” The dog went on to become Yale’s first bulldog mascot in 1889.

Students talking while sitting near a school building.

A story that was written in 1893 and published in The Morning Journal-Courier described how the captain of Yale’s baseball team grabbed Handsome Dan from the team’s bench and ran around home plate in an effort to bring good luck to the team before it was Yale’s turn to bat in the seventh inning while there was a scoreless tie.

According to The Philadelphia Press, when given the command to “talk to Harvard,” Yale University’s official mascot, Handsome Dan, was trained to “bark ferociously and strain himself into bodily contortions of wrath never previously conceived of by a dog.” According to The Morning Journal-Courier, after Yale defeated Harvard in 1893, “some Harvard humorist got a large dog of red cloth, packed with rags.

“In appearance, he looked like a cross between an alligator and a horned frog, and metaphysicians called him handsome under the law of compensation,” the Hartford Courant wrote in 1898 in a eulogy for Handsome Dan after he moved to England.

What did the previous Handsome Dan look like?

What did the earlier versions of Handsome Dan look like? The history of Yale’s current mascot, Handsome Dan, can be traced back more than a century to a succession of 18 other bulldogs that have held the title of Yale Official Mascot.

Handsome Dan I was given the honorary title of “Yale mascot” sometime in the early 1890s. Before baseball and football games, a purebred bulldog was walked across the field, and the ceremony quickly became a tradition at Yale’s major athletic events. The rite was intended to confer confidence and prosperity to the athletes competing in the games.

After football player and the original owner of Dan I, Andrew Graves, graduated from Yale and moved to England, Dan I was passed down to Graves’ younger brother, William Leon Graves, who was also a Yale undergraduate at the time. At Yale, Dan I continued to be a symbol of athleticism and confidence across campus.

After his death in 1898, the first-generation mascot was preserved by being stuffed and placed in a glass case in the Payne Whitney Gymnasium. According to a former history professor at Yale, Stanton Ford, “he is the perpetual guardian of the treasures which attest to generations of Yale athletic glory.”

After Dan I’s passing, Yale was without a bulldog for the better part of three decades. However, the class of 1937 made the decision to change that in 1933. The students at Yale contributed pennies, which the class used to buy a new bulldog that they named “Dour Doruna,” who was later given the moniker Handsome Dan II.

In the years that have passed since Dan II, a total of sixteen more bulldogs have been honored with the title and function of “Handsome Dan” upon the passing or retirement of the mascot who came before them.

Young woman smiling while lounging in the campus.

The institution has also celebrated significant anniversaries in the history of the campus community by drawing inspiration from Handsome Dan’s legacy. Bingo was the first and only female in the chain of bulldogs at Yale. She was adopted in 1969, the same year that the university began admitting female students, and she ruled during the 1970s.

What Makes Handsome Dan Unique Among College Mascots?

Handsome Dan, Yale University’s official mascot, stands as a symbol of tradition and pride that transcends mere sports representation. Unlike other college mascots, Handsome Dan is not a fictional character or a human in a costume but a living, breathing bulldog.

Each Handsome Dan is selected with great care, and the title has been passed down through generations of bulldogs since 1889. The uniqueness of Handsome Dan lies not only in his physical appearance but also in his charismatic personality, which embodies the spirit of Yale.

His presence at various university events, his interaction with students, and his role in Yale’s cultural fabric make Handsome Dan a mascot unlike any other in the collegiate world.

Training and Care

Training and care are paramount to maintaining the legacy of Handsome Dan. Each Handsome Dan undergoes specialized training to ensure that he is well-behaved, friendly, and approachable.

The training includes socialization with people and other animals, obedience training, and preparation for the various events and appearances that Handsome Dan attends. The mascot’s health and well-being are also top priorities.

A dedicated team of veterinarians and caregivers ensures that Handsome Dan receives the best possible nutrition, exercise, medical care, and love. This meticulous attention to training and care ensures that Handsome Dan continues to be a symbol of pride and joy for the Yale community, reflecting the university’s commitment to excellence in all aspects of life.

Interaction with Students and Fans

Interaction with students and fans is a significant aspect of the role of the mascot. Handsome Dan is not just a figure to be admired from afar; he is a friendly and approachable presence that students, faculty, alumni, and fans can interact with.

Whether it’s posing for photos, attending sporting events, or participating in university traditions, Handsome Dan’s interaction with the Yale community creates a bond that goes beyond mere mascot representation.

The mascot becomes a friend, a confidante, and a symbol of the shared experiences and values that unite the Yale community. These interactions foster a sense of belonging and pride that enhances the Yale experience, making Handsome Dan an integral part of the university’s identity.

Merchandising and Marketing

Merchandising and marketing play a vital role in promoting the legacy of Handsome Dan. From apparel and accessories to toys and memorabilia, the image of Handsome Dan is a recognizable symbol that resonates with Yale’s community and supporters.

The merchandising not only generates revenue for the university but also helps in spreading the spirit and values that Handsome Dan represents. Marketing efforts, including social media campaigns, special events, and collaborations with brands, further enhance the visibility and appeal.

These initiatives allow Handsome Dan to reach a broader audience, strengthening the connection between Yale and its global community and reinforcing the values and traditions that make Yale a unique and esteemed institution.

Why do some collegiate teams have live animals as mascots?

Why do some collegiate teams choose real animals as mascots instead of inanimate ones? According to Michael Lewis, a professor of marketing at Emory University in Atlanta, the response is actually fairly straightforward and easy to understand.

a dog and its owner walking at a pavement

Lewis, who hosts a podcast on the topic of sports analytics, stated that “human beings have a soft spot for animals.” They are considerably more interesting to look at than a man dressed in a suit. The use of live animals as mascots has a number of important benefits. They are, in my mind, something that the fan community can rally around as a kind of focal point.

According to Lewis, the fact that a dog was the first live animal to serve as a mascot in college football is not surprising. He stated that because “dogs are part of the family,” fans have a natural affection for canines because of this.

What are Yale’s colors?

Since the late 1800s, Yale Blue has been an important part of the university’s culture and has played an important role as an institutional identity during that time.

When it comes to projects originating from the university, this is the hue that works best as either a base or an accent.

Alternate blues are also recommended for purposes where the official Yale Blue cannot be used due to aesthetic or technological constraints.

The “Yale Blue Swatch Book” is a resource that should be consulted for ink formulation and color matching on the press by both designers and printers. The Office of the University Printer, as well as Yale Printing & Publishing Services both, have copies available for purchase.

Yale Blue

In order to prevent “bronzing,” which occurs when Yale Blue is printed as a solid color, an inline application of varnish or an aqueous coating must be used.

The “Yale Blue Swatch Book,” which can be obtained from the Office of the University Printer or Yale Printing & Publishing Services, contains further technical guidelines.

Use PMS 648C for printing on coated paper, as well as for all inset and silkscreen projects, if the specified Superior Printing Ink Co. formula cannot be obtained for conventional printing.

Utilize the PMS 295U color when printing conventionally on uncoated paper. Before sending a digital file, you should consult with the vendor to establish the type of ink to use for coated or uncoated applications.

Use Benjamin Moore 2064-10 Bold Blue for jobs that require a paint color match for Yale Blue or ask a vendor to match the official swatch book color. Both options are available.

Additional standard colors

In circumstances in which the Yale Blue would be rendered formally ineffectual, say in the outfit of Yale University’s official mascot Handsome Dan, it is recommended that variations of Yale Blue, both of higher and lower intensity, be used instead.

A higher-intensity, brighter option (PMS 660), for instance, will provide a contrast that is more pronounced when used in conjunction with black when Yale Blue is used in a print publication. When combined with more vibrant accent colors, a blue with a lesser saturation (PMS 654) may function more effectively.

When black-and-white printing is required or when a design calls for an element that is more neutral, Yale Gray is the color that is specified for use.

How Can You Meet Handsome Dan and Experience the Tradition?

Meeting Handsome Dan, Yale University’s official mascot, is an experience that embodies the rich tradition and spirit of Yale University.

Young woman standing next to a shelf full of books.

Whether you’re a prospective student, an alumnus, or simply a fan of Yale, the opportunity to meet Handsome Dan is a memorable encounter that connects you to the heart of the university.

Yale University’s official mascot is more than just a symbol; he’s a living representation of Yale’s values, history, and community. From scheduled appearances at sporting events to participation in special university traditions, there are numerous opportunities to meet Handsome Dan and feel the warmth and pride that he brings to the Yale community.

Scheduled Appearances

Handsome Dan has a busy schedule filled with appearances at various university events and functions. From football games to commencement ceremonies, Handsome Dan’s presence adds a touch of excitement and tradition.

These scheduled appearances are well-publicized, and fans can find information on the official website or through university communications. Meeting Handsome Dan at these events is a highlight for many, and his friendly demeanor ensures that everyone, from young children to seasoned alumni, feels a connection.

Special Events and Traditions

Handsome Dan’s involvement in special events and traditions goes beyond mere mascot duties; it’s a vital part of the Yale culture. The mascot participates in unique university traditions such as The Game, the annual football match against Harvard, and other seasonal festivities.

These special events provide opportunities for the community to engage with Handsome Dan in a more intimate and meaningful way. Whether it’s a pre-game rally or a community outreach program, the presence of Handsome Dan adds a layer of authenticity and excitement.

Social Media and Online Presence

In today’s digital age, Handsome Dan has a vibrant social media and online presence. Through platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, fans can follow Handsome Dan’s adventures, see behind-the-scenes glimpses, and even interact with the beloved mascot.

The official social media channels provide a virtual connection that transcends geographical boundaries, allowing alumni and fans worldwide to stay engaged with Handsome Dan. Regular updates, photos, videos, and interactive content make Handsome Dan accessible to all, reinforcing the sense of community and shared pride.

Experience Yale school spirit with Handsome Dan XIX

It is a widely held belief that Yale University, which is one of the eight prestigious colleges that come together to form the Ivy League, is among the very greatest educational establishments that can be discovered anywhere in the whole wide world.

You should seek the guidance of professionals who work in the subject of college admissions, such as those who work at AdmissionSight, in order to boost your chances of being accepted to Yale if getting into Yale is one of your goals.

AdmissionSight has become the most trusted name in the field of college admissions advice as a result of its more than a decade of expertise assisting students just like you in gaining admission to the colleges of their first and second preferences. Please get in touch with us as soon as you can so that we can schedule an initial consultation that will be provided free of charge.


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