PHOTO | Liz Chrisman
On Oct. 18, 2022, beloved Tech ambassador and friend, Jerry Charles Young I, died from natural causes at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18. He was 9 years old.
Born for the limelight, Jerry I was always a fan favorite and aided many students to their transition into college life. Jerry I has always been a big deal on campus. According to Heather Strasner, Jerry I’s handler, “he just had this personality, and we knew, looking at the pictures, that this is what he was born for. He was born to be a star.”
Born in Oklahoma, SGA and Strasner communicated the need to reinstall an English bulldog as a campus ambassador to alumni. After a unanimous vote by Tech’s student government, he was installed as an important and pivotal staple in campus culture on Oct. 26, 2013.
This was a continuation of a tradition started in the mid-1930’s by William O. Young, the business manager at Tech from 1917 to 1942. Spending much of his time at the National Guard campus battery F, the students adopted Jerry as if he was their own. This building would later be known as the Stroupe Building, where home basketball games used to be played.
The students’ love for Jerry I was resounding, with everyone knowing and appreciating his presence on campus. He would be awash with admirers at every campus event he went to. According to Strasner, there are many reasons why Jerry I was so loved.
“I think there are a few reasons why students love Jerry the Bulldog so much. One is he has a calming effect. Another reason is that most students cannot bring their pets from home and seeing a furry four-legged friend gives them a connection to where they came from. There is just something special about seeing Jerry on campus, and he gives us a common bond that we might not otherwise have,” Strasner said.
In a press release by Sam Strasner, Heather Strasner states, “we are grateful to the ATU community for the manner in which they embraced the return of Jerry the Bulldog and loved Jerry Charles Young I. His Earthly vessel is exhausted, but the way Jerry made those of us who love Arkansas Tech feel will last forever.”
Sam Strasner continued in his press release, “over the last nine years, Jerry Charles Young I brought the tradition back by attending a wide variety of campus and alumni events as well as supporting Wonder Boys and Golden Suns student-athletes on the fields and courts of play. He greeted hundreds of campus tours and took thousands of photos. ATU students have often said over the past nine years that Jerry was the reason they chose Arkansas Tech. He reciprocated their affection in full.”
Jerry Charles Young II began his time on campus on Oct. 1, and has officially begun his journey as the next great ambassador, despite the massive pawprints Jerry I left in the hearts of Tech students.