Boxer to return to Pacific campus after years of absence
When Pacific University's class of 1968 got together last week for their 50th reunion, they not only got an opportunity to catch up with old classmates and friends, they also got the chance to see someone no one had seen in decades.
Pacific's beloved mascot statue, Boxer, is being recreated for the third time — after having gone missing for years — and the wax mold replica was presented to the group as a surprise on Friday evening, June 22.
The mascot is a monumental piece of Pacific's history, with the first statue purchased in China in the late 19th century by an alumnus and missionary, the Rev. J.E. Walker, who is said to have bought it for his mother.
The original bronze statue is the shape of a "Qilin," a Chinese mythical creature that somewhat resembles a dog but has dragon-like scales, hooves of a goat, with a lion-stance and a unicorn-like horn.
Walker's mother gifted the statue to Pacific, and it soon after became an important symbol to Pacific.
"Qilin are good omens, said to bring wisdom and prosperity to whomever they watch over," Pacific University stated of Boxer. "Through the years, Boxer has stood as a beloved symbol of the Pacific community and an embodiment of cultural diversity."
The statue quickly became part of a new tradition at the school, and one that continued on for decades.
"Scrimmages began after the group in possession of the statue 'flashed' or 'tossed' out Boxer by displaying the mascot somewhere on campus for students to see," Pacific states. "After a Boxer Toss, the statue was hidden for stretches of time, sometimes years."
Over the years, as different groups and individuals acquired the statue as part of the tradition, it went missing, it was broken and mended many times, but it always made its way back to the campus eventually.
However, the original statue finally disappeared for good around 1969, and it wasn't until the 1980s that Pacific amuni commissioned Boxer II. Eventually, that statue disappeared too, and the campus tradition finally fell by the wayside.
This year, however, in another alumni-driven effort, the same artist who created Boxer II has been commissioned to create Boxer III, with "considerably more accurate detail thanks to access to archived documents and returned pieces of the original statue."
The bronze version of the statue will make its debut at Pacific's Homecoming in October, and Boxer III will be installed as an art exhibit in the Tran Library.
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
Subscribe to our E-News and get the week's top stories in your inbox
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It can cost as little as 3 cents a day.)