Though the nickname for its sports teams (and students in general) is "the Hoyas," Georgetown University 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 19th of that same year. While not related to his immediate predecessor, Jack is from the same line as "Rocky," GU's mascot during Patrick Ewing's time on the hilltop. 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 the evenings at his apartment in New South (which he shared with Fr. Steck, S.J., Associate Professor in the Department of Theology). Jack Sr. passed away on June 2, 2015.
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 and now lives happily with a loving new family.
The Bulldog Advisory Committee, which includes students, faculty, alumni and staff, was established to determine how the Georgetown community can strategically and thoughtfully continue the bulldog mascot tradition. In the fall of 2013, the BAC convened to prepare for the training and care of a new mascot on campus. The youngest "Jack" arrived in October, a generous gift from champion bulldog breeder and Hoya parent Janice Hochstetler. One of the most recognized figures on campus, Jack the Bulldog spends his time celebrating life on the Hilltop and cheering for Hoya sports. When not occupied with his mascot duties, Jack resides in a Georgetown townhouse with caretaker McKenzie Stough (C'13).
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.