Zippy, the University of Akron's kangaroo mascot, turns 66 today, and the celebrating includes a video loaded with images of a happy, busy Zippy.
The University of Akron's oldest undergrad is hugging folks. She's bowling. She's reading. She's in the UA board room (pretending to be leading a meeting?). She's dancing. She's eating at the Diamond Deli in downtown Akron. She's on a carousel at the Akron Zoo with the zoo mascot, Otter. She's hanging out in the pool with UA swimmers.... and more.
The university posted the "Happy Birthday Zippy" video on its Facebook page today.
Zippy leaped into the spotlight in the 1950s. In May 1953, the university's student council voted to adopt the kangaroo at the symbol of the "Zips," the university's nickname since 1950. That's a shortened version of the previous nickname -- the "Zippers," which was chosen in a 1926 contest and was the inspired by a B.F. Goodrich brand of rubber galoshes with metal fasteners.
Dick Hansford, UA vice president and dean emeritus of student services in the early 1950s, was the student council's adviser in those days. He made a suggestion that changed Akron Zips history.
"I said 'Let's go with something unique. There's just so many bulldogs and lions and tigers and whatnot.'" Hansford recalled in a 2002 Akron Beacon Journal article. "I said 'Why don't we try a kangaroo?'"
He got the idea from a comic strip that featured a kangaroo in boxing gloves. Hansford died in2014.
Earlier this year, Zippy and Webster - the Akron RubberDucks' mascot - were an item, with their first date documented in another video. Portions of that video -- including their first date at the Diamond Deli -- are included in the birthday video.
Presumably the two are still an item as no break-up video has been posted.