Sep. 14, 2011
In 1988, when Shawnee State University was only two years old, William McKinley had a brilliant idea of creating a mascot for the university.
McKinley didn't just pass the idea along, he met with a seamstress, helped design the first mascot uniform, and he funded the project. Over the years, he has provided a total of three Shawnee State University mascots, as Shawn E. Bear has evolved. The most recent mascot was introduced two years ago.
"William actually brought Shawn E. Bear to life years ago," Dr. Rita Rice Morris, SSU President, said. "Not everyone knows what he has done for the university and the community through our mascot, but they hopefully will now."
During a special birthday surprise presentation, Shawnee State University unveiled a permanent display of the former mascots along with a tribute and thanks to McKinley for making them possible. The display, housed on the second floor of the University Center, also includes a "Shawn E. Bear timeline" which provides the history of SSU's mascot.
"More than providing funding for mascot uniforms, William has created a persona for our athletics, our students, and our university — and has enhanced school spirit and student life," Morris said. "Through Shawn E. Bear, he has provided a vehicle for us to build community support and a fan base for our programs. It's a tremendous gift and we wanted to find a way to show our appreciation."