but a spirit, did you say?
But that's been "spirited" away.
An emblem of our college yell,
A sign that all with us is well
In the relm of knowledge.
now the naughty deed is done;
not our plea enlist some heart?
This poem was published in The Index after a toss.
In 1896 or 1898, Pacific University received a special gift from one of its alumni, Rev. J. Elkanah Walker. In 1881 he purchased the 16th century bronze incense burner for $5 and donated it to his alma mater. The statue is of a mythical beast with scales, hooves, and horns used to frighten away evil spirits. The statue acquired the name "Boxer" after the Boxer Rebellion in China during the 1890s. Boxer soon became a symbol of Pacific University. The history is as follows.
Boxer was first stolen in 1899 by Richard Faulkner ('02). This created quite a stir on campus and spurred several articles and poems in The Index, the student newspaper. After this initial theft, various classes fought for possession of Boxer. In 1912, Boxer's tail and one front leg was broken off during a toss. In 1915, Boxer is rumored to have gone to France during World War I. In 1937, Boxer was buried in a graveyard and later recovered by the kidnapper's girlfriends.
The Boxer tosses could be very intense. For example, in 1929 a toss lasted nine hours! On March 29, 1940, there was a Boxer toss that lasted for more than two hours. As a result, Boxer appeared in The Index for the first time. On May 26, 1958, The Index reported one of the largest Boxer tosses. This toss took place on May 21 and involved over 500 people from all over Forest Grove. The rioting mob became so out of control that tear gas was used but that only delayed the action momentarily. Mrs. Challes Beckley, the university nurse, stated that of the 17 people who came to her for first aid, only 4 needed stiches.
The original Boxer was last seen in 1969 during a routine "toss." By the early 1980s, there was no sign of Boxer. As a result, the tradtion was in danger of dying out; however, in 1982, three students, Kim Smith, Linda Parker, and Janet Leasher, arranged to have another statue cast so that the tradition could continue.
In May 1992, one of the last tosses took place. One student was hospitalized after receiving a head injury. Because of this incident, the administration called a halt to the tradition. The second Boxer disappeared in May 1993 and was recently recovered during Homecoming 1999. Boxer resided with the wrestlers, then was stolen by the AZs. In spring of 2003, the wrestlers regained Boxer. After residing with the wrestlers for a year, Boxer was passed on to the Hawaiians, who won a school-wide competition for Boxer.
Boxer has been the official mascot since 1969. The student body voted to replace the Badger, the mascot chosen in 1921, to avoid confusion with the University's two symbols. Far more people associated the school with Boxer due to the famous tradition of the "tosses."
The mystery of the original Boxer's disappearance has yet to be solved. There are stories of his being melted down or thrown from the Golden Gate Bridge.
For more related photographs, go to the Boxer Photo Album.
Excerpts from Rick Read's article in the Fall 1993 Pacific Today and various Index articles.