Rocky epitomized the determined Bulldog. The rescued white Victorian Bulldog came to campus after being adopted by alumni Alexis Johnson '97 and Ed Johnson '96, a math lecturer at UNC Asheville. They volunteered to be the mascot's keepers and trainers, and for the past seven years, Rocky has been on campus during those exact moments that school spirit was needed – orientations, homecomings, athletic games and commencements, just to name a few. Petting Rocky on the path to a first class or a first job has been a rite of passage for many students and graduates and is said to bring good luck, and he was there to see the Bulldogs through one more memorable Homecoming in February. Now the UNC Asheville campus remembers Rocky in his passing. He died during the last weekend of March, passing away peacefully.
On April 26 the UNC Asheville community gathered for a special memorial service for Rocky. Students, faculty and staff shared their favorite memories of the beloved mascot, and a dogwood tree was dedicated in his memory. Student Government Association President Charlie White read Alexander Pope’s poem, Argus, about Odysseus’ loyal dog, and Ed and Alexis Johnson shared that Argus was the name they called Rocky at home. Dean of Students Jackie McHargue, student athlete Paige Love, and Chancellor Mary K. Grant also spoke in honor of Rocky. The dogwood tree planted in memory of Rocky is located just behind the Rocky statue on the University Heights loop.