The Houston Baptist University family welcomed Kiza III, the new four-legged mascot, during the first convocation of the 2017-2018 school year on September 6. The husky garnered the admiration of new fans as she began her career in service to HBU.
Whit Goodwin, associate provost for HBU Student Life, said that his three children were the main influencers in selecting the chosen pup.
“I believe that mascots are a huge part of the ethos of a university,” he said. “We wanted a dog who would really represent us well and continue a strong tradition. I went out one day to look at a kennel’s pups and my children immediately went to Kiza. She had the piercing blue eyes and such a sweet face and good demeanor with them. She’s a great dog with tons of personality and is exceptionally smart; it all worked out.”
Kiza III still has to learn the ropes for such an important role. There are six students on the HBU Sled Team (managed by Student Life), led by Head Musher Sarah Galena. The dog will also be trained professionally, Goodwin said.
“We want her to be good around people and obedient. She’s kind of like a full-time employee,” he said. “She’ll be at events in the community, sporting events and recruiting events. The mascot is one of the most photographed dogs around.”
The Williams and Trozzo families established an endowment for the care of the University mascot several years ago. Jared and Payne Trozzo have continued the program to honor the memory of their mother, Dawn Trozzo, in collaboration with their father, Clay Trozzo, MBA ’96, and grandparents, Dr. Diane, ’93, and Stanley Williams. The scholarship program supports students who serve on the Sled Team in the mascot program.
Dr. L.D. Eckermann of Westbury Animal Hospital and his wife Marsha Eckermann, ’68, are graciously providing veterinary care.
The former mascot, Kiza II, who has served the University since 2010, will now have the chance to enjoy life with a family as a “normal dog,” Goodwin said.
Ultimately, huskies are ideal University representatives, Goodwin said.
“They’re hard-workers, they’re good-natured and they’re smart. All of those things represent a piece of what HBU is about,” he said. “It’s a great fit.”