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The University of Arizona

Rufus Arizona


Rufus Arizona, 1915

1915. Original 'Rufus Arizona':
The original wildcat mascot arrived on campus October 17, 1915, and was introduced to the student body the following day at assembly in Herring Hall. He was the gift of the freshman football team who had raised the funds ($9.91) to purchase him. He was officially named "Rufus Arizona", after UA President Rufus B. von KleinSmid.

On April 17, 1916 Rufus died. The Arizona Wildcat reported that:

. . . while endeavoring to perform gymnastic stunts in the limbs of a tree to which he was tied, Rufus Arizona . . . fell and was hung."

Note: never tie a feline to a tree. Rufus was memorialized in verse and a Wildcat editorial, which noted that his "growls urged our team to victory" and spoke of his "strength, alertness, tenacity -- the true Arizona spirit." Rufus had several successors in later years.

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