Griff, as Drake’s Live Mascot, is on a mission.
But first, a little history: The Live Mascot Program began informally when Porterhouse was crowned the Most Beautiful Bulldog during Relays. Typically, the Beautiful Bulldog winner only reigns over Relays, but Porterhouse (and his caretakers, Erin and Kevin, LW’11, Bell) stuck around. From 2009 to 2013, Porterhouse was a fixture on campus during that time, making appearances at basketball games, other Drake events, and just generally being a face people came to know and love.
After Porterhouse came Griff, who made his debut as Drake’s first official Live Mascot in October 2015. Erin led the search for Griff as the newly named director of the Live Mascot Program. She continues as the director today, fulfilling the role of Griff’s thumbs, chauffeur, social media maven, scheduling manager, personal butler, and so much more. (When not in his official capacity as Drake’s Live Mascot, Griff calls the Bell household home.)
From that day in 2015, Griff and the Live Mascot Program have become synonymous with Drake and the program’s mission, purpose, and scope have only grown. Today, Griff is one of the most beloved members of the Drake community. As the University’s Live Mascot, Griff is a visible, present, inclusive, and authentic presence. He is truly “everybody’s bulldog”, whether he’s welcoming prospective students as the admissions office’s four-legged ambassador, greeting athletics fans and campus event attendees, engaging with followers on social media, being a friendly face on campus to students, faculty, staff, and visitors, or traversing the city of Des Moines. In addition to his campus duties, Griff works as a therapy dog at group homes and care facilities, visits local elementary schools, and attends many other community events.
Griff is the face of the Live Mascot Program and much goes on behind the scenes to ensure the program serves the University and elevates Drake, showcasing what it really means to be a Drake Bulldog. The program represents and embodies Drake’s mission to transform lives and strengthen communities.
And now the Drake community has an opportunity to give back to a program that has given so much to Drake. The Live Mascot Program will be the pilot campaign for the newly launched “Here’s to the One” crowdfunding platform. The platform takes its name from “The ‘D’ Song”, Drake’s fight song. The name is a nod to a Drake tradition, but also recognizes the many people at Drake who are doing incredible things. Crowdfunding will serve as yet another way donors can support Drake causes they care about. Watch for more campaigns in the coming year.
The first $10,000 raised for the Live Mascot Program will be matched by alumni Doug, BN’75, and Peggy, BN’76, GR’96, Person. The Persons are avid Griff fans and value how the Live Mascot Program connects alumni, students, and friends of Drake. Located in Kansas City, the Persons often see Drake in the news and recognize the far reach of the Live Mascot and the positive impact that makes on Drake.
Visit the campaign page September 17-October 17 to make a gift and learn more about the mission of the Live Mascot Program.