ONU’s Mascot Celebrating Milestone Birthday

Written by on March 15, 2023

It’s a big birthday month for Klondike. Our loveable bear turns 100 this week!

While the polar bear became ONU’s official mascot in 1923, the mascot wasn’t named “Klondike” until 1998. And Todd Bailey, BA ’01, has the distinction of being the first “Klondike.”

Todd works in regional economic development at Huntington Bank, in Columbus, Ohio, supporting the tremendous growth of the advancing manufacturing, semiconductor and EV industries across the bank’s Midwest footprint.

“To this day, my time as Klondike comes up in discussion more often than I would have guessed,” he says. “It tends to generate a lot of laughter and questions from those who are curious about what it’s like to be a mascot. In fact, I still keep it on my LinkedIn profile as a fun differentiator and light-hearted conversation starter.”

One of Todd’s favorite Klondike memories was Klondike getting outfitted in an oversized black suit and tie to attend formal events honoring the retirement of ONU president, Dr. DeBow Freed.

On graduation day, two of Todd’s professors gave him the idea to slide on the mascot’s paws right before he walked across the stage to get his diploma. “It was a big reveal of sorts,” he says. “You could hear the laughter from those who caught on.”

Todd’s birthday greetings to Klondike: “200 is the new 100! Enjoy the next century!”

Celebrations have been taking place all month as the different students who have suited up as the mascot have been featured on the Ohio Northern University Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OhioNorthern

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