Archived news releases
BEHEADING REVEALS REAL J. DENNY(S)
Appearances at about 45 events (and counting) this academic year attest to the popularity of J. Denny Beaver, the Bluffton University mascot.
With that kind of demand, it has taken three Bluffton students to perform J. Dennys duties. Their identities were revealed at halftime of the mens basketball game on Feb. 8 during a "beheading" ceremonythe only time that college mascots traditionally remove their costume heads in public.
Introduced as this years J. Dennys were seniors Andy Chaffee of Clarkston, Mich.; Emily Shellabarger of St. Marys, Ohio; and Kourtney Lewis of Arlington, Ohio.
Chaffee, who is majoring in accounting and business administration, works for the admissions office and is a student ambassador. He is also a member of the cross country and track teams and is currently training for the Ironman Lake Placid in July.
Shellabarger has a double major as well, in English and writing, and is a member of the English Club and the Honors Program. She has interned with New York Times best-selling science fiction author Tobias Buckell, a Bluffton graduate and local resident.
Majoring in criminal justice, Lewis is a student ambassador, a resident advisor and a member of the womens soccer team. She wore the J. Denny costume for the ceremony and was beheaded by Caitlin Keelor, a Student Life staff member on campus.
Helping reveal Chaffees and Shellabargers identities were Karen Brandt, head cross country and track coach, and senior Mallory Valentine, respectively. They, and Keelor, had been asked to help at the ceremony but didnt know their roles until shortly beforehand.
Phill Talavinia, Blufftons director of athletics, presented a Varsity B jacket and a plaque to Chaffee, Shellabarger and Lewis, who, as volunteers, are not paid for the many hours spent as J. Denny. They will continue their mascot role through the end of the academic year.
J. Denny became Blufftons new mascot in August 2010. He is named in honor of Dr. J. Denny Weaver, Professor Emeritus of religion and longtime faculty athletics representative at Bluffton.
The beaver mascot at Bluffton goes back to 1926-27. The first costume is believed to be a papier-mâché head and furry body made and donned by students in 1967. J. Dennys predecessor, Bucky Beaver, retired in 2007-08 after more than 20 years of service.
The Feb. 8 ceremony also kicked off the application process for the next J. Denny Beaver. Any interested Bluffton students can get an application from the Marbeck Center Desk or online at www.bluffton.edu/jdennybeaver.
Public relations office, 2/8/12