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Carl C. ’89

The birthday Badger himself, Buckingham’s full name is Buckingham U. Badger. The U doesn’t actually stand for anything. (You might conclude it’s useless.) The name was chosen for the UW’s mascot by then-student Bill Sachse ’50, who was also one of the creators of the costume that turns an otherwise nondescript student into Bucky. Sachse held a campus vote in 1949, and Buckingham beat out the competition (though Sachse later admitted the election was rigged to ensure that his favorite name won). From time to time, people have suggested expansions of the U — “University” is a common favorite, though it occurs to me that if we tried “Unilever,” we might be able to get some revenue from selling naming rights. But for now, he remains just Buckingham U. Badger. Even though Bucky was unnamed prior to 1949, his birth year is officially 1940 — October 2, 1940, to be exact, which is when the Library of Congress copyrighted the likeness of the original illustration. Happy 80th birthday, Bucky! Learn Bucky’s full origin story with this timeline of his life.

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