Jaggy’s Journey

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JaggyFlexing2When Georgia Perimeter College becomes Perimeter College at Georgia State University in January, a shift in feline identity will occur.  Now known as the Jaguars, members of the GPC community will become the Panthers and go “on the prowl” with Georgia State mascot Pounce.


In preparation for the transition, it seems a good time to stop and celebrate the mascot who, for almost seven years, has embodied the spirit of our college and helped to unite and define GPC’s campuses and communities. It feels appropriate to salute the jaguar who symbolizes passion, diversity, courage, determination and strength, to remember how Jaggy came to us and to discover where he will go when he leaves.


Here’s to you, Jaggy!





In 2008, Jaggy was just a gleam in the eye—the vision of a creative team at Georgia Perimeter College who felt it was time for a new college mascot. Not just any mascot, however. He must be a special jaguar who would reflect the spirit of an institution with a growing population and academic reputation, a jaguar whose personality would give the college’s athletics a binding identity and reinforce the community pride and solidarity within GPC’s diverse student body.

John Hartwell

John Hartwell

To bring the vision to life, GPC joined with marketing firm EM2 and designer John Hartwell, whose passion for the project matched the enthusiasm of the college. Before Hartwell put charcoal to paper, however, he listened as faculty, staff and students described the mascot-to-be as if they already knew him—he would be fierce, but not too fierce, self-assured, determined, energized, playful and a little arrogant (in a fun, cocky way). He would demonstrate endurance and strength.
Hartwell created artful sketches for consideration, and—through a dynamic (and fun) process—the faculty, staff and students provided input (and more than 1,000 votes) to guide the jaguar’s development and determine his appearance and traits.


Hartwell’s approved designs were provided to Cowan Costumes Inc. in Cleburne, Texas, to begin the physical development of the new mascot. Hartwell’s drawings also inspired the familiar spirit logo that appears on GPC spirit wear and athletics uniforms.


“Creating the live jaguar required endless decisions,” says Barbara Obrentz, who as director of marketing for GPC, traveled to Texas to participate in the process. How many spots should he have? What kind of feet would he need? Cowan produced each body part by hand with painstaking care.


Jag_Name_PosterIn March 2009, the jaguar was born. Through a collegewide vote, he was named Jaggy and became an instant hit throughout the multi-campus institution. As is the case with most newborns, he assumed his place so quickly and naturally, it became difficult to recall when he had not been part of Georgia Perimeter College.


Jaggy has since cheered on GPC’s athletic teams, hung out with students, raised the roof at convocations, hugged children and posed for photos at graduations. His likeness has appeared on posters, MARTA trains and life-size cutouts used for photos. He has become synonymous with Georgia Perimeter College and earned a special place in GPC’s history. He’s also earned a special place in the hearts of all who know him.









“Hey, what’s up, fellow cool cats?


Chances are, you recognize me. I’m Jaggy, and for the past six-plus years I have had the amazing privilege of being the top jaguar and official mascot for Georgia Perimeter College.


Over the years, you may have noticed that I do not speak—except for the occasional (and private) roar or growl, (or maybe when I cough up a hairball). But I try to control those urges because, let’s face it, they frighten people. And I am known for my good manners.


What many of you may NOT know is that I do pretty well with written words (aside from the obvious challenges my paws create). This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. What would you expect of someone who represents an institution the caliber of Georgia Perimeter?


Anyway, I wanted to write to all of you because a lot of changes are coming to our college, including a new mascot (my friend and fellow feline, Pounce). It will be an exciting time. But I couldn’t leave without bidding you a proper farewell.


Now, now—don’t look so glum. I have big plans. Exciting plans! Before I get into those, however, I want to tell you how much I have enjoyed my time here.


From the very beginning, it was clear I was a welcome addition to the GPC family, who had planned and looked forward to my every detail—from the number of spots on my coat to my winning personality. When I arrived, everyone had a chance to weigh in on my name, too.


How could I not feel loved?


jaggyatconvoncationAnd what fun awaited me! Who wouldn’t want to participate in parades, dance with cheerleaders, and pose for photos? (I especially like selfies with students!).


Once I took part in a cake walk at Newton Campus. That really rocked—at least until I was informed I could not walk off with the cake.


And, I haven’t even mentioned all the hugging. I have hugged students. I have hugged professors, I have hugged staff members. I have hugged children. What a wonderful way to while away the days!


I played important roles in academic events, too, such as GPC Reads. (I loved the slogan: “What does a Jaguar read? Whatever he wants!” Ha!)


You could always find me on hand for special days, such as convocation, graduation and when we helped out through community service. I was a regular at athletic events, too, cheering on my fellow Jaguars and playing soccer with young visitors at Dunwoody’s Soccer Fun Day.


Jaggie-Birthday137You took such good care of me. When I turned 1, you gave me a birthday party. You always groomed me and made sure I had plenty to eat and drink. Quite frankly, I’m a bit spoiled, I think. I’m worth it, though—right?


But now, it is time for me to head out and experience a few things beyond campus life. It’s time for me to travel and see the world.


So here’s my plan:


First, I will swing by Texas, where I was born—back to my roots,  so to speak. Next, I’ve arranged a tour through Central America. (I will share with you confidentially – I’ve done a little distance learning, and there is a pretty jaguarita in that area who I met online and want to visit.  Isn’t the Internet wonderful?)


Then, I’m going to do a bit of study abroad on my own. I have family in the Amazon basin who have offered to put me up for a while and teach me the skills of my ancestors. A cousin tells me there’s nothing like a little clawing of trees or swimming in the river to generate a positive outlook on life!


I’m not sure what will follow, but you can rest easy that my future is bright. After all, that is Georgia Perimeter College’s specialty: preparing its students (as well as one particular furry fan) for success and instilling in them a passion for learning that lasts a lifetime. Or, in my case, nine lifetimes.


I’m not leaving right away, so I may see you around campus in the coming weeks. But I wanted to make sure and tell you Thank You for all the love, the experiences (and the memories) you have given me.


It’s enough to make me want to purr.”





Where’s Jaggy?

The GPC family knows Jaggy can pop up anywhere, and that is just what he does in the print version of The Chronicle. How many photos of Jaggy do you see in the printed 2015 Legacy issue of the Chronicle (see below)? Look closely! In addition to the photos that accompany his own story, you might find him hanging around other headlines or dangling from photos or pushing up corners. Click here to Email your answer (and contact info) to us. If your count is correct, we’ll give you a poster-size copy of “The Best of GPC” photo featured in the magazine (while supplies last).


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More on Jaggy in Last Look.


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