What if Willie the Ram wasn’t the only mascot at Texas Wesleyan?
If you’re wandering the halls of the Nenetta Burton Carter Building, you may come face to face with a festive, hairy, severed javelina pig head by the name of Buffy.
“Buffy has been here [Nenetta Burton] since we moved in,” said Dr. John Hall, professor of psychology. “When psychology was in Dan Waggoner, she was there since probably 1990s. She’s been around a long time.”
Buffy, the mascot of the psychology department, arrived at Texas Wesleyan with Dr. Laura Schneider, who taught psychology at Texas Wesleyan from 1995 to 2005. Buffy was jokily gifted to her during her undergraduate years and remained with her through graduate school and her teaching years here.
“She was a classmate of mine at TCU, but a year behind me,” said Dr. Marilyn Pugh, an associate professor of psychology. “She came to work at Wesleyan the year after I did, and she brought Buffy, a taxidermized javelina, which is a wild pig native to the Southwest. It was so outrageous and ridiculous that we decided to make it our department mascot.”
Schneider left Buffy with the department when she left Wesleyan in 2005.
“Schneider left in 2005 because she got married and moved away,” Pugh said. “She didn’t feel the need to take Buffy, since she had an army captain.”
Ever since Schneider left, Buffy has been in Pugh’s care. Pugh keeps up the tradition of dressing Buffy for the seasons.
“Buffy has a Mortar Board graduation hat she sometimes wears near graduation,” Pugh said. “She had a lot of Christmas, Easter, and Halloween stuff in a box in a closet. The most extreme was when he had the apparent severed leg of a child in his jaws for one Halloween with a denim pants leg and tennis shoe. I was really temped to dye it in red paint and have it dripping, but I thought that may be a bit much.”
Pugh even made Buffy a Wesleyan ID that hangs from her neck.
“I found a javelina picture on the internet, some Wesleyan stickers, and a judicious amount of clear packing tape to make it look shiny,” Pugh said. “I’m sure I had a lanyard, probably the official one, since I don’t wear my ID on a string. When they first issued them, they told us to wear them at all times and that lasted about three months. Now nobody wears them, except Buffy. She’s the only in the department that complies with the rule.”
A favorite costume of Hall’s was the Easter one, when Buffy had a stuffed Easter bunny between her jaws. He appreciates Pugh’s efforts.
“It’s pretty much been Dr. Pugh [that does the costumes],” Hall said. “She’s been masterful at it.”
Hall, like Pugh, believes that Buffy is an important department tradition. He even joked that the department may have to disband without her, since she’s technically tenured, having been around for more than two decades.
“Absolutely [Buffy is part of the tradition of Wesleyan’s psychology department],” Hall said. “It’s not that we think about her every day, but I can’t imaging walking into this building and Buffy not being there. I can’t imagine through Dr. Pugh’s efforts if she [Buffy] didn’t transform at the various holidays and seasons. It’s just unimaginable.”
Hall and Pugh both think most psychology majors like or are neutral toward Buffy.
“I think the psych majors mostly either embrace or ignore Buffy,” Pugh said. “They do ask about it. If they bring family or something you can see them introducing people to Buffy. I think they either completely ignore Buffy or they sort of enjoy that we have something ridiculous that is just ours.”
Even though Buffy is a huge part of the psychology staff, some students never really notice her.
“I don’t like or dislike [Buffy] and I’m not a super fan [either],” senior psychology major Raul Resendiz said. “I guess I’m neutral.”
Hall said the reactions to Buffy have varied throughout the years.
“There’s been a lot of reactions over the years, but I think most students, especially our students in the department, come to identify with Buffy just like we do,” Hall said. “I think almost everyone’s been favorable, but some people aren’t, and that is what makes it Buffy even more special.”