Big Dog on Campus

August 28, 2023

Bulldogs as mascots are synonymous with Georgetown and those who have studied Hoya sporting history also know that a succession of Boston Bull Terriers served as our mascot, beginning in 1921 with Stubby, a decorated World War I hero. But often overlooked in the pantheon of our canine mascots is Butch the Great Dane. 

Georgetown mascot Butch the Great Dane in front a Healy cannon.

Butch came to campus during World War II. He was owned by Captain Andrew D. Gruber who worked with army cadets studying at Georgetown as part of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). When Captain Gruber was  transferred overseas, Butch stayed behind and was quickly adopted as the University’s mascot due to his extremely affable nature and ability to learn tricks. 

1949 Football Team with Butch the mascot

Between 1943 and 1949, he attended football games, pep rallies, and other campus events and made frequent off-campus appearances for charitable causes. His trickiest assignment may have come in November 1949 when he was called on to play host to the Villanova mascot, an actual wildcat, which a group of GU students, including Bill Blatty, author of The Exorcist, kidnapped in Pennsylvania ahead of a GU-Villanova football game and somehow hid on campus for over a week.

--Lynn Conway, University Archivist