UC's Bearcat Celebrates Its Centennial Birthday

By:  Kevin Grace

Bearcat at the ZooThis time of year 100 years ago, the “Bear Cat” made its first appearance in a student newspaper cartoon that celebrated a UC football victory over the University of Kentucky.  UK had its “Wildcats” but with the red and black backfield boasting the likes of Leonard “Teddy” Baehr, the cartoonist, Paddy Reece, showed a bear-like creature chasing after a wildcat.  It wasn’t until a few years after that gridiron win that the term “Bearcat” came to be commonly used as the University of Cincinnati’s mascot, but now a century later, it’s an integral part of our campus identity.

Paddy Reese

Leonard Baehr

Leonard “Teddy” Baehr

Back in 1995, Greg Hand researched and documented the history of the Bearcat, which has changed shape and appearance frequently over the decades, and the Archives & Rare Books Library created a website showing the ‘Cat’s various manifestations:  http://digital.libraries.uc.edu/exhibits/arb/bearcat/.  Now with contributions from ARB and from around campus, John Bach of UC’s Office of Government Relations and University Communications has written and created a website that duly chronicles the Bearcat’s 100th birthday: http://www.uc.edu/bearcats.html.

Bearcat at CommencementOn October 31st, from 11 am to 1 pm, there will be a special birthday bash on the steps of the Tangeman University Center, and everyone is invited.  Bach will continue to add content to the site as this year and the coming years go by, leading up to the University of Cincinnati’s bicentennial celebration in 2019.

To learn more about the Bearcat’s history at UC, as well as anything connected to University of Cincinnati history, please contact the Archives & Rare Books Library at 513.556.1959, by email at archives@ucmail.uc.edu, or visit us on the web at http://www.libraries.uc.edu/arb.html.