The one-year-old English bulldog will take over full-time mascot duties on July 1, filling the paws of Griff I who is set to retire June 30.
“We are proud to continue the tradition of our live mascot program and welcome Griff II to the Drake community,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “I am confident that he will spark even greater school spirit and help bring us all closer together, just as Griff has done for years.”
Griff II was born in July 2018 and comes to Drake from a caring family in Wisconsin. Griff II has been living quietly with the family of Erin Bell, associate director of marketing and manager of the live mascot program, since November 2019.
Formally known as Griff II, the mascot-in-training has been given the informal name of “George” after George Carpenter, the first president of Drake University. Going forward, Drake’s official live mascot will have both a formal name of Griff, followed by the appropriate Roman numeral, as well as a nickname.
Since moving to Des Moines, Griff II has been adjusting to his new home and learning from Griff I. Some of the personality traits that attracted Bell to Griff II were his incredibly social nature, playfulness, intelligence, and happy-go-lucky attitude.
“He’s got a big personality that will represent Drake University well,” said Bell. “He is everything we were looking for in finding the best possible successor.”
Griff II will assume all live mascot duties for the University starting July 1. Plans for an inauguration will include a changing of the harness ceremony in August, marking the official handoff of responsibilities from Griff I to Griff II.
“Griff I has set a remarkable standard for what it means to be a live mascot,” said Bell. “We have no doubt that Griff II is up for the task, and we look forward to sharing him with Bulldogs everywhere.”