Mascots unmasked


Beavers’ true identities revealed

BLUFFTON, Ohio—Bluffton University mascot J. Denny Beaver gained a partner this year in Jenny Beaver. And the pair proved so popular that five Bluffton students were needed to fill their shoes.

The students’ identities were revealed at halftime of the men’s basketball game on Jan. 31, during a ceremony that traditionally marks the only time that college mascots remove their costume heads in public.

Introduced as this year’s J. Dennys were senior Jeremy Amstutz from Cassopolis, Mich.; junior Alex Parker from Alger, Ohio; and senior Daila Moore from Findlay, Ohio. Moore also performed as Jenny Beaver, joining full-time Jennys Amber Steinke and Lezlie Thompson, a senior and junior, respectively, and both from Wapakoneta, Ohio.

Amstutz is a two-year letter-beaver as J. Denny. A business administration and marketing major, he is president of Bluffton University Business Leaders, active in intramural sports and an employee in the University Event Complex, encompassing Marbeck Center, Founders Hall and the Sommer Center.

Parker, a public relations major, is involved with campus radio station WBWH and a member of the track and field team, the student improvisation group and Fault Lines line dancing club.

A social work major, Moore is also active at WBWH and with the improv group.

Steinke is majoring in early childhood education and to become an intervention specialist. She is an admissions office intern and student ambassador, and participates in intramural sports.

Also an early childhood education major, Thompson is a hall chaplain, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a desk manager in Marbeck.  

Phill Talavinia, Bluffton’s athletics director, presented a Varsity B jacket and a plaque to each of the five students, 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 Beaver became Bluffton’s 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 Jan. 31 ceremony also kicked off the application process for the 2015-16 mascots. Any interested Bluffton students can find an application online, at, or look for it on Facebook and Twitter.