(December 7, 2007, 2pm)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Centenary College Unveils New Mascot

SHREVEPORT, La.—It's official! The students, faculty, staff, and alumni have spoken. The new mascot is... the Louisiana Catahoula.

The announcement was made at Thursday's men's basketball game at the Centenary Gold Dome during the halftime break. Thanking everyone who voted and those on the mascot committee, Centenary College President Dr. Kenneth Schwab, said that everyone at the college is excited about the new mascot. "We will always be the Gents and Ladies, and the new mascot will be a perfect addition," he said.

On hand to open the "ceremonial" envelope, President Schwab introduced SGA President Holly Williams; Hoyt D. Bain, President of the Centenary National Alumni Association; and Jared Ward, student chair of the Mascot Advisory Commission. Together, all three opened the envelope and revealed the new mascot.

"And the newest member of the Centenary Family, joining our beloved Gents and Ladies is...the Catahoula," Baine, Williams and Ward told the crowd of cheering fans.

Then directing everyone's attention to the side entrance, Hoyt asked for silence as the newest Centenary family member was introduced to those in attendance. "Skeeter," a two-year old Catahoula cur, made his way onto the gym floor while fans slowly stood and applauded.

If you don't have Flash (or if you like bigger photos), try the larger format slideshow.

You might also enjoy our Skeeter video.

"Skeeter" was rescued from "Citizens for Animal Protection," a non profit shelter in Houston, Texas. The shelter takes in more than 12,000 orphaned, rescued and abandoned pets each year. Skeeter had been at the shelter for about a month.

Adopt a Pet

If you live in the Houston area and are considering adopting a pet, please contact the Center for Animal Protection at 281.497.0591 or visit their website at cap4pets.org.

When the staff at the shelter learned of Skeeter becoming the new mascot for the College, they were very excited. "This is about the coolest thing to happen to one of our rescues (dog)," said Candee Best, Volunteer Coordinator. "We are very excited to know he is going to a good home and will be in an environment where he will be loved."

More than 1,400 students, staff and faculty, and alumni voted on-line for the new mascot. With a little more than 32 percent of the vote, the Catahoula won over the four other choices of Explorers, Fire Ants, Squirrels, or Mudcats.

Now that Skeeter is the official mascot, he will be making regular appearances at home games, said Rick DelaHaya, Director of Marketing & Communication. "We are going to enroll him in obedience class and also train students as handlers," said DelaHaya. "He is such a sweet dog and everyone has just gone crazy over him. He really is a good fit for the College."

About Catahoulas

The Catahoula Leopard Dog, often called the Catahoula Hound, is the official state dog of Louisiana. It is the only breed of dog native to the state and is a cross between a breed of domestic dogs raised by the Indians of the Catahoula Lake region and the Spanish "war dog" that came to Louisiana in the 16th century. The Catahoula Leopard Dog has a spotted coat and webbed feet and makes an excellent pet, guard dog and hunting dog.

About Centenary

Centenary College of Louisiana is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and is regularly rated as one of the top colleges in the South.