After serving more than four years as Drake University’s inaugural live mascot, Drake University today announced that Griff will retire from his duties on June 30, 2020.
“Griff has been such a special part of our campus community,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “His affectious spirit and enthusiasm embodies the mission of our University. While Griff’s presence on campus will be greatly missed, he will forever be a part of the Drake family.”
Griff started his role as the University’s official live mascot on Oct. 8, 2015. The retired champion show dog has since attended thousands of University events and community gatherings—embracing all who have met him. At nearly eight years old, he is going out at the top of his game, creating a path for his successor, and ensuring a lasting legacy.
“Griff isn’t going anywhere, and this isn’t goodbye,” said Erin Bell, associate director of marketing and manager of the live mascot program. “He’s going to finish strong for Drake and leave the live mascot program in very capable paws come June 30. Griff still has future Bulldogs to recruit, games to win, selfies to snap, commencement to attend, and one more Relays before he enters retirement.”
Today marks the start of a five-month-long retirement party to celebrate Griff and the lasting impact he’s made. Few two-legged Bulldogs—let alone four-legged—have met as many presidential candidates, logged as many community service hours, taken as many photos, or attended as many basketball games as Drake’s official live mascot.
In his retirement, Griff plans to take long naps on his favorite, oversized chair in the Bell home. He has been with the family since 2015 and looks forward to a lot more time with them. We anticipate that his successor, Griff II, will be in place and ready by July 1.
The namesake of Griff is John L. Griffith, who served as the University’s athletic director from 1908 to 1918. Among Griffith’s contributions to the University: He organized a track-and-field meet in 1910, in a blizzard, that became the first-ever Drake Relays. All future live mascots will continue to hold the title of Griff, with an additional nickname to distinguish each canine.
Griff will continue to perform his duties throughout the spring semester—posing for photos, being a good boy, and supporting all Drake Bulldogs and the wider community. If you see him, be sure to thank him and snag one more selfie. Share some love for him on social media using #ForeverOurDog.
Watch the video below to relive the impact Griff has made.