Jonathan XIII, the white Siberian Husky that served as the school’s live mascot from 2008-14 and was a fixture at UConn events even in his retirement, died on Wednesday surrounded by friends, family, and Jonathan XIV. He was 14 years old.
“For thousands of our alumni and UConn supporters, Jonathan XIII was ‘their’ mascot over the years, and he remained a beloved presence on our campuses and in the community in recent years with his successor, Jonathan XIV,” UConn President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi said in a statement. “He was the epitome of ‘a good boy,’ and he’ll be greatly missed.”
After being born in Pennsylvania in 2006, Jonathan XIII made his UConn debut on March 9, 2008 for a men’s basketball game against Cincinnati. He served as the school’s live mascot, attending games, events and spending time around campus before retiring in 2014 and letting his successor, Jonathan XIV, take over.
Even in retirement, Jonathan XIII was nearly inseparable from Jonathan XIV and still made the rounds at many UConn events, earning the unofficial title of mascot emeritus. As he got older, he became more sensitive to large crowds and loud noises, but still managed to attend some events and remained beloved by students on his walks through campus.
UConn has had Huskies represent the school in some capacity since 1935, even when the school was known as Connecticut Agricultural College. Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity on campus, has cared for the line of Jonathans since the 1970s. All of UConn’s live mascots have been named Jonathan in honor of Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut’s governor during the American Revolution.