University to sell academic calendar for students featuring campus' legendary albino squirrels

UNT albino squirrel calendar
The late “Baby,” one of three albino squirrels that has lived on the University of North Texas campus since 2000, will be featured in a new academic calendar for UNT students.
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Like most college students, students at the University of North Texas are buying textbooks and supplies as the fall semester begins. In a few weeks, they can also buy the ultimate back-to-school accessory just for UNT students - an academic calendar featuring the campus' legendary albino squirrels with their white fur and pink eyes.

Since they were first spotted at the university in Denton around seven years ago, albino squirrels have become the unofficial mascots and good-luck charm of UNT.

Photographs taken in 2002 of "Thelonius," the campus' first documented albino squirrel, led to the formation of the UNT chapter of the Albino Squirrel Preservation Society. UNT's group, which lists more than 400 members on its web site, joined chapters at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and five other universities.

Earlier this year, the UNT Libraries adopted the albino squirrel as the theme for the Cyber Café in the Willis Library. The café displays a photo collage and memorial reliquary to "Baby," the university's second albino squirrel.

"Baby," who was first spotted in April 2004 shortly after sightings of the larger "Thelonius" ended, was killed by a red-tailed hawk in August 2006, shortly before the start of the fall semester. Last April, however, as the 2006-07 was ending, students and staff members spotted another albino squirrel, believed to be the offspring of "Baby." It was dubbed "Baby's Baby."

The new academic calendar features photos of all three squirrels, says Melody Kelly, associate dean of UNT libraries.

"The pictures are themed to the season and the academic calendar itself features important dates for our students," Kelly says. "It also has a brief history of the albino squirrels on the campus. UNT legend has it that if you see the albino squirrel prior to taking an exam or making a critical life decision, the animal will bring you good luck."

Proceeds from the sale of the calendars, which will go on sale Sept. 17 and will include coupons for the Cyber Café, will benefit the UNT Libraries' Staff Scholarship Fund.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108