Jack the Bulldog is Georgetown University’s official mascot – a well-known figure who is a beloved presence at Georgetown sporting events and campus activities.
The class of 1964 brought the first Jack the Bulldog to campus in 1962. According to popular legend, the puppy refused to answer to the name that students gave him (Hoya) and only responded to “Jack.”Back to Top
Requests for Jack
On Nov. 30, 2023, Georgetown announced that a new mascot will arrive on campus in January 2024. More information will be shared about engaging with Jack once he arrives.
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Name: Jack the Bulldog
Official Papered Name: Serchell’s John P. Carroll
Birthday: July 28, 2023
Arrival at Georgetown: Early 2024
Birthplace: Hanford, California
Weight: 30 lbs
Color: Red with white markings
Lineage/Any Relation to Former Jacks: No relation
Favorite pastimes: Skateboarding, looking for admirers, chasing dragonflies, playing with other dogs
Favorite food: Cantaloupe, meat of any kind
Favorite hangouts: Anywhere with sun, preferably laying belly up
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A History of Dogs at Georgetown
Though the nickname for its sports teams (and students in general) is “the Hoyas,” Georgetown adopted the English bulldog as its mascot in 1962. A group of students had lobbied for the move, arguing that Georgetown athletes were, like bulldogs, “tenacious.” A student committee purchased a two-year-old bulldog which they had hoped to name “Hoya.” However, the dog stubbornly refused (as bulldogs do) to respond to anything but his given name, “Jack.” The dog won, and students began to call him “Jack” – beginning a tradition that continues today.
Over time, the tradition of a permanent, on-campus mascot was replaced by a student in a bulldog suit. However, seniors in the class of 1999 began a “Bring Jack Back” campaign and succeeded in welcoming a new Jack to campus in March of 1999. Unfortunately, this Jack (now “the elder”) had to retire in 2003 when his caretaker, Hoya alum Scott Pilarz S.J., became president of the University of Scranton.
Jack Sr. was born on May 3, 2003. He arrived at Georgetown on July 19 of the same year. While Jack Sr.’s official mascot duties ended in 2012, he continued to live on campus, spending his days resting in the lobby of the Jesuit Residence and evenings at his apartment in New South (which he shared with Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J., associate professor in the Department of Theology).
In April of 2012, the Georgetown community welcomed Jack, Jr. (J.J.) to Georgetown as mascot-in-training. When the mascot lifestyle proved too hectic and exciting for J.J., he returned to a home environment with a loving family, and retired from mascot duties.
The next “Jack the Bulldog” arrived in October 2013, a generous gift from champion bulldog breeder and Hoya parent, Janice Hochstetler. While on the Hilltop, Jack impressed students, parents and Hoyas fans alike with his impressive skateboarding skills. Jack lived in a university townhouse with his caretaker McKenzie Stough (C’13), who worked in Georgetown’s Office of Communications. Jack retired in summer 2019.
The most recent Jack arrived on the Hilltop in the fall of 2019. When not occupied with his mascot duties, Jack resided with his caretaker Cory Peterson, who was a full-time staff member in the Office of Government Relations and Community Engagement.
A version of this story by former archivist Jon Reynolds (C’65), who passed away in 2000, ran in a 1983 issue of Georgetown Magazine.Back to Top
Jack and the Jesuits
Would the spirituality of another religious community better suit Jack?
Some other religious communities are better known for their devotion to animals than the Jesuits. The Franciscans, for example, have a tradition of blessing animals on the feast day of their founder, and some communities of monks have made raising dogs part of their monastic labor.
But Jesuit spirituality has its own tradition of valuing God’s creatures. At the end of his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, asks the retreat participant to look with wonder at all of God’s creatures. Ignatius asked them to find in themselves the labor of God’s spirit – thus the Jesuit motto of “finding God in all things.”
The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., captured well this idea of finding God in the good things of the world with his poem “Pied Beauty,” which includes these lines:
“Glory be to God for dappled things -– For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-fire coal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. …
… All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; addazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him.”
Jesuit spirituality encourages people to ponder and experience a God who works personally and directly in their lives – a God who labors in big and small events, in the people and things of their daily existence.
Element of Mystery
How God works in our world always has an element of mystery to it, and so one cannot know for sure exactly how or where God is laboring in any creature.
The most that can be said about Jack the Bulldog is that he has made a real contribution to the well-being of student life at Georgetown. As one of the many cherished traditions at Georgetown, Jack helps draw Hoyas together and foster a sense of community among them. Perhaps in that small contribution by Jack to life on Hilltop, one can see a fragment of God’s labor of love.
One doesn’t have to be a Franciscan to love a dog like Jack.Back to Top