History of Oswald

President Bob Knight with new Oswald the penguin suit. Photo of President Knight with Oswald.

Luc Hoestra – Editor-In-Chief

The Clark College mascot, Oswald the penguin has had many faces over the years and this year, he’s getting another new look.

But who is Oswald, and why is our mascot a penguin?

Oswald the Blue Penguin began as a wooden penguin toy, belonging to the first student of Clark College in 1933. He would wind the penguin up to waddle inches across campus, which eventually caught the attention of Dean Lewis Cannell, the namesake of Cannell Library. As he passed by, Cannell would exclaim, “It’s Oswald, the blue penguin!”

At the end of the year, the student donated the wooden penguin to the school, and Clark never looked back. Galapagos penguins, from the sunny shores of Ecuador are one of the rarest species of penguins.

While a penguin might be an odd choice for a college ambassador as they are not the most fearsome of animals, students have embraced the loveable penguin, whose face that can be found across campus and at most athletic events.

The quirky mascot has had many faces and maintained student support throughout. In 1988, students held a tree-burning protest in support of Oswald when the school suggested changing to a different mascot.

At the Office of Student Life students can find a showcased collection of penguins that have served as the school mascot, dating back to the beginning of the college.

So why a new suit after 17 years?

“We sent Oswald to the gym over the summer,” Athletics Director Chris Jacob said. “He’s come back more toned and agile.”

With new foot slips and arms and legs that are easier for the wearer to move, the new penguin officially joined the community on Sep. 17 for a more maneuverable penguin at athletic events.

About Luc Hoekstra (39 Articles)
Luc is a 24-year-old student journalist in Vancouver, Washington. They will graduate from Clark College in 2019 having earned an Associates of Arts degree and a News Media Studies certificate. In their news writing, Luc often covers the theater, music and art departments. Luc has been published in the Columbian and is an arts freelancer at the Portland Mercury. Luc enjoys reading Mark Twain and classic Greek mythology.

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