The original bruin bearskin, circa 1929
WHY THE "BRUINS"?
George Fox University's Bruin nickname comes from a real bear captured in 1887, just two years after Pacific Academy (the university's predecessor) was established. The small cub was found in the Coast Range's foothills near Carlton, Ore., about 15 miles west of Newberg, after its mother had been shot. The young cub was brought to the campus by a student, and later lived with a faculty member.
When the bear grew to adulthood, it was kept in a pit in Hess Creek canyon south of the campus. It escaped one too many times, however, and was turned into steak for the dining table, while the hide was preserved on a frame and displayed in an early campus museum. When the hide deteriorated several years later, it was taken to a campus furnace room to be destroyed, but the framework proved a problem in dismantling, so it was left sitting in a corner.
Students later found the old bearskin and began skirmishes over ownership, a tradition that continues today, even though the original is long gone. "Bruin Junior," a replica, is fought over periodically in class competition under a set of guidelines passed down for years, with the class that is able to physically drag the Bruin replica off campus declared the rightful owner until the next time it is "flashed" on campus.
Even with the long Bruin tradition, the "Quaker" tag for athletic teams came into popularity with sportswriters during the 1950s and 1960s because of the school's affiliation with the Friends denomination. That nickname, along with a mascot named "Foxy George," a little fox with a Quaker hat, was used for a while until a vote of faculty, students, and administration in 1970 reinstated the Bruin nickname to its rightful place.
Bruin brawls can get messy
A Bruin Jr. of recent vintage