Butler mascot Blue II dies
Beloved Butler University mascot Blue II died Saturday at the age of 9.
The English bulldog, who had served as the mascot of Butler's athletic teams from 2004-13 had been diagnosed earlier in the summer with congestive heart failure. He retired from his mascot duties in May.
"Blue really galvanized the pride and tradition of having a live mascot at Butler," said Michael Kaltenmark, Blue's caretaker. "His daily presence on campus, online, and at everything from athletic events to black tie galas made him a living and breathing fixture of the Butler brand. He was born for the role."
"Blue epitomized The Butler Way," University President James M. Danko said. "Without saying a word, Blue demonstrated perfect loyalty, team spirit, and steadfast pride in representing the University to the world.
"And he always made people smile," Danko said. "We will miss him very much."
Blue II had a strong following on social media, amassing thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook. He achieved national popularity in 2010 and 2011, as the Bulldogs made consecutive trips to the NCAA national championship game for men's basketball.
Blue II was Butler's second live mascot. He replaced Blue I, who was owned by alumna Kelli Walker. She moved from Indianapolis in 2004 to Bellingham, Wash., and eventually to the Chicago, Ill., area, where she and Blue I still reside.
Butler Blue III took over live mascot duties for the university this past season.
"The outpouring of support for Blue in his final days was emotionally overwhelming," Kaltenmark said. "The circumstances were less than ideal, but the Butler community and our fans really rallied around him. Even in the end, Blue demonstrated great character and the gift to bring us all together. He will forever be remembered as a Butler legend."
Blue's painted portrait will be on display at Starbucks in Butler's Atherton Union from 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4 through the weekend for community members who want to pay tribute.
The University is planning a Bulldog Memorial to honor and remember Blue and all of Butler's live mascots-past, present, and future. Fundraising for the memorial began with a generous gift from the Butler class of 2013 and Blue's friends and fans can add their support by visiting this website.
Any funds raised above and beyond those needed for the Bulldog Memorial will support the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse.