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    Mascots can be endearing; they can also be scary. Bellarmine University’s last incarnation of its mascot, the Bellarmine Knight (below), bore a distinct resemblance to Buzz Lightyear but was far from beloved. “The new mascot replaces one that was often described as ‘creepy,’ and occasionally ‘really creepy,’” says Jason Cissell, Bellarmine’s director of media relations and social networking. “I’ve seen children scream when it came near.”

    The old Knight.

    No longer. It’s a new day, and the new Knight, although not exactly cuddly, looks more the part of a warrior recently decorated with the honor of an NCAA championship than a unibrow-wearing villain. Designed by Ontario, Canada’s BAM! Mascots after focus group input from Bellarmine students, the new mascot has proven so popular in its short tenure the senior class raised money to make it their senior class gift to the university.

    The Knight, which made its debut in front of more than 800 fans at the Bellarmine/Ohio State NCAA Division I lacrosse game last Saturday, will attend sporting events and other programs throughout the year—and will be in Knights Hall for every game next fall as Bellarmine seeks to defend its men’s NCAA Division II basketball championship.

    Bellarmine’s founding president, Alfred Horrigan, was enchanted with the Arthurian legend and the quest for the Holy Grail, and originally conceived of the Knight as Bellarmine College’s mascot. The helmet appears on the university’s seal, and the decorative plume is a dove, reflecting the primacy of peace in the world.

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    Photos: Courtesy Bellarmine University

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