Posted by Philip Poole on 2011-09-30

Libby, Samford University’s bulldog mascot, died Sept. 27. She had served since 2008 as Samford’s first live mascot in decades.

Libby, whose official name with the American Kennel Club was “Oser's Lady Liberty,” was owned by Vestavia Hills, Ala., resident David Oser and his late wife, Rhoda. The Osers approached the university in spring 2008 about interest in having Libby as a live mascot.

Although Samford had live mascots for many years, including several who lived at the home of former Samford president Leslie Wright and his wife, Lolla, it had been at least three decades since the university had a live bulldog before Libby. Libby’s name was especially fitting because many of the university’s major benefactors, including Frank Park Samford, Andrew Gerow Hodges, F. Page Seibert and the Beeson brothers were affiliated with Liberty National Life Insurance Company in Birmingham.

Libby debuted as Samford’s mascot at the first-ever Southern Conference FanFest in August 2008. The registered English bulldog had appeared at athletics contests and other university events. Many evenings, she could be seen walking around the campus with the Osers. Mrs. Oser died about two years ago, but Mr. Oser had continued to bring Libby to campus for events.

“Dave and Rhoda Oser were so generous to allow Samford to adopt their precious Libby as our first official bulldog mascot in many years and they have been so supportive in escorting Libby to dozens of campus events across the years,” said Michael Morgan, assistant to Samford’s president. “She was very dear to them and to the university community and she will be missed.”

Because of Libby’s age, the university had begun a transition to Rex, a bulldog owned by Samford alumna Linda Allison. Rex made his official debut at the Samford-Stillman football game on Sept. 10.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.