Trinity recently celebrated LeeRoy the Tiger’s 64th birthday by presenting a signed birthday card to the mascot at the Sept. 23 home football game. Student Ambassadors and the Alumni Relations office hosted the celebration.
Though Trinity adopted a tiger mascot in 1916, LeeRoy’s birthday is celebrated in honor of the day that a live tiger, which used to be brought out for Trinity football games, arrived at the university.
“The day we usually pick is within two weeks of the actual date of LeeRoy coming to campus,” said Jim Stryker, associate director of Annual Giving Outreach and Engagement. “He was flown into San Antonio and came to the first football game. … He stayed at the San Antonio Zoo and was brought out for football games on a big tractor trailer.”
Davis King, senior business administration and finance double major and co-chair of Student Ambassadors, explained the way in which LeeRoy’s birthday ties into student giving.
“Student philanthropy is a huge part of our job as Student Ambassadors, to get people in the habit of giving so hopefully they’ll do that post-graduation,” King said. “We try to get as many seniors as possible to donate so that during senior week they get to sign a brick as they climb up the tower.”
“We do ask students for gifts, but a lot of it is just the first involvement thing that Student Ambassadors and Alumni Relations do at the beginning of the year,” Stryker said. “It’s kind of fun to celebrate LeeRoy to start the year, especially since he came about the time that we celebrate his birthday. We just want to do something fun with the community. This is the third year we’ve done it. We normally have about 250 or 300 signatures for [the card].”
During the football game, the card is presented to LeeRoy and there is a celebration with cupcakes afterwards.
“On Saturday at halftime during the football game is when they present him the card, so they try to make it a big deal,” Stryker said. “We had eight to 10 ambassadors who went out on the field, and Dr. Anderson goes out there and they present him the card.”
Cameron Carlin, sophomore communication major and member of Student Ambassadors, was dressed as LeeRoy on the day of the football game.
“It was awesome being able to share that experience with my fellow student ambassadors present at the event,” Carlin wrote in an email interview. “We got to see all of our hard work during the week come into fruition. I love that Trinity recognizes the true importance of LeeRoy’s birthday, instead of just another way to publicize the mascot. His birthday is a way to celebrate all of the history and adventures that Trinity has experience in the past.”