Pacific University is home to a legendary mascot — a mysterious dragon-like creature named Boxer.
Boxer has represented Pacific's spirit, pride and honor for over a century, ever since a bronze Chinese statue was gifted to the university back in 1896.
Through the years, Boxer has stood as a beloved symbol of Pacific community and an embodiment of cultural diversity.
"He’s a strange tradition and the spirit of Pacific. He’s their mascot, their emblem, the love of their life."
— The Oregonian, November 1950
To this day, our mascot continues to inspire the students and community of Pacific University to embrace the Boxer Spirit.
Our Boxer Mascot Today
The original Boxer mascot was a bronze statue that was coveted by the students of Pacific University.
In fact, different student groups would often battle for possession of the statue in good-natured scrimmages called scrims for short, or, more often, "Boxer Tosses."
Boxer would appear during Boxer tosses, sometimes disappearing for years at a time, but always showing up again somewhere on campus when he was "flashed" for students to see.
In 1969, the Black Student Union, who felt alienated from the majority of students, gained possession of Boxer in a spirited Boxer toss.
The original Boxer hasn't been seen since.
As the years have passed, a few pieces of Boxer have been recovered, often with the help of alumni.
Occasionally, rumors on Boxer's current location surface. Perhaps, with the help of dedicated alumni and students, the rest of Boxer will eventually come home as well.
The history of Boxer covers Boxer's journey from China to Oregon, and his subsequent adventures in the hands of students at Pacific. From 1908, when the name "Boxer" was coined and the Boxer Toss tradition began, to 1968 when Boxer officially replaced the badger as the University's mascot.
Read the story of Boxer to learn more about the rich history of Pacific University's unique mascot.
What is Boxer?
Members of the Pacific community often hear the question, "What exactly is Boxer?" At first glance, Boxer may look like a dog, perhaps with the scales of a dragon and the hooves of a goat.
There are several theories on Boxer's nature.
Charles Lachman, Ph.D, formerly the Curator of Asian Art for Jordan Schnitzer Museum at the University of Oregon, claims it is a "Foo Dog", or "Buddha Dog." Traditionally these dogs are actually representations of lions and grant mythical protection, serving as guardians to royal palaces, temples and tombs.
Another term used to describe Boxer is "qilin" (pronounced chee-lin, or ki-rin), which is a mythical Chinese creature with a lion-like stance, a unicorn-like horn and deer or ox hooves.
Lachman believes Boxer is from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). During this period, qilin are often represented with a dragon head, fish scales, ox hooves and a lion's tail. Qilin are good omens, said to bring wisdom and prosperity to whomever they watch over.
What does Boxer mean to you? If you have a story to share, tell us, and read about what Boxer represents for others.