Dominican University has a new campus mascot – Rosie Bea, a 6-month-old chocolate Labrador retriever mix.
Rosie Bea – the latter name pronounced like the letter “B” – is university president Glena Temple’s new puppy. A first-time dog owner, Temple said she wanted to adopt a dog after seeing the impact therapy dogs had on staff and students. During finals week, therapy dogs are brought to campus to help comfort students who are stressed from project deadlines and exams and even homesick, she said. Temple also remembered the way staff and students reacted when one DU student’s family brought their own dog to school. Their faces lit up, their energy and mood quickly shifting in a “positive way,” she said.
Those moments combined left an impression on Temple and inspired her to get her own dog.
“I’ve always been a dog person, but I’ve never had the privilege of living right next to where I worked,” said Temple, whose home is located next to the university in River Forest. “You know, a college president typically doesn’t have a lifestyle that supports raising a puppy, but this gives us that opportunity.”
“We thought, ‘Let’s take the plunge and see how this works,’” she said, adding she enlisted the help of a former coworker who trains dogs and matched her with a puppy. Temple, who has had Rosie Bea for a little over a week, said her dog spent roughly two months in a puppy boot camp learning the basics, including not jumping on furniture.
Temple, however, is currently getting a crash course in pet parenting. The Dominican president is adjusting to those early morning potty breaks and fitting walks around the River Forest college campus and neighborhood into her schedule. She’s also trying to teach Rosie Bea to stay in her crate, something the puppy isn’t quite fond of at the moment.
“She’s certainly training me at the moment,” Temple said, laughing and noting that she’s becoming more fluent in “puppy parent language” and paying attention to Rosie Bea’s cues and needs. “She doesn’t want to be away from me and just getting her confident.”
While Rosie Bea’s official campus debut is set for Aug. 28 at the annual DU Fest, Temple said she’s already introduced her dog to some staff and students. On July 22, during orientation day for incoming freshmen and transfer students, Temple brought the months-old playful puppy to meet and greet roughly 60 new faces.
“She just sat down, rolled over, got her belly rubbed, and it was just a lovely moment for campus,” Temple said.
Temple told the Journal that she’s committed to creating a warm, welcoming environment at Dominican, and with Rosie Bea around, she hopes to grow that mission.
Staff and students lent a hand in selecting a name for her puppy, Temple said. The university briefly held a social media contest asking for suggestions, which is how the name Rosie Bea popped up. The name, Temple said, comes from Dominican University’s first mascot – the Rosary Beads. Dominican was previously named Rosary College, taking on the Rosary Beads mascot from 1975 to 1979.
“Isn’t that funny?” Temple asked, smiling, before offering a simple explanation: “Rosie Bea comes from Rosary Beads, our first athletic logo.”
“We did this naming competition because I wanted the community to lean into the dog,” she said. “We wanted a name that either tied to our [current] athletic mascot, the Star, or our history as an institution.”
Beyond that, Temple told the Journal she knows her title can seem rather intimidating for students especially, and she’s putting in the effort to make them feel comfortable around her – to offer them a chance to get to know her and see her beyond her official role.
“Students have gotten used to seeing me wander around campus and take walks on my own. It’s nice. They call out, they say hello, but I think even more they’ll come over and talk to me with a dog,” she said.
“We’re trying to create a hospitality that people feel welcome and part of the community, and I’m just one member of the community, and now Rosie is, too.”