Baylor mascot Joy, one of the university's beloved black bears, passed away on Monday after being a "cherished member of the Baylor Family for 21 years."
The university said the "treasured North American Black Bear" passed away peacefully around her caregivers, staff, and veterinary team. To Baylor Joy represents an enduring symbol of the university's spirit and tradition, according to the release.
"From the moment she arrived on the Baylor campus as a rambunctious four-month-old cub, Joy captured the hearts of Baylor students, alumni, faculty and staff and more than 250,000 campus visitors a year," said the university. "Joy loved the visits from schoolchildren from throughout Central Texas and generations of families, students and alumni, who shared in the thrill of meeting Joy and Lady and learning about the Bears’ unique mission of stewardship, education and conservation."
Baylor said it will be honoring Joy in an on-campus memorial, additionally the bear's sister Judge Sue “Lady” Sloan will continue receiving care at the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat.
"The University hopes to receive two rescue American Black Bear cubs next year to continue Baylor’s tradition of having live bear mascots reside in the heart of campus and continue their unique mission of stewardship, education and conservation for the local community and beyond," said the university in Monday's announcement.
Additionally, the school is accepting memorial contributions to honor Joy’s memory and legacy at Celebrating the Life of Baylor Bear Mascot Judge “Joy” Reynolds.
"All donations will support the planned bear retirement facility and continued enhancements to the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat, benefiting Lady and the future generations of Baylor’s American Black Bear ambassadors," said Baylor University in the release. "A remembrance service will be held for Joy early in the fall semester once students fully return to campus."