In Memoriam: Jerry Charles Young I

Jerry the Bulldog ATU
Jerry Charles Young I: 2013-22

Jerry Charles Young I, the English bulldog who restored an Arkansas Tech University tradition that had been lost for 76 years by serving as ATU campus ambassador from 2013-22, passed away peacefully from natural causes at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18. He was 9 years old.

“I cannot imagine a dog ever lived a better life,” said Sam Strasner, ATU director of university relations and co-caretaker for Jerry the Bulldog alongside his wife, Heather Strasner. “He displayed his trademark determination until the very end, battling cancer while simultaneously training his successor and gracefully saying goodbye during his retirement reception on Thursday, Sept. 29, and his final appearance at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field on Saturday, Oct. 1, the day of his retirement.

“We are grateful to Dr. Heath Stump and his team at Russellville Animal Clinic and Betsy and Noel Snyder at Creature Comforts Boarding and Daycare for the remarkable care they provided for Jerry I throughout his life,” continued Strasner. “We are grateful to Dr. Robert A. Young Jr. for allowing ATU to restore a tradition that is so closely tied to his family’s story. We are grateful to the ATU community for the manner in which they embraced the return of Jerry the Bulldog and loved Jerry Charles Young I. His Earthly vessel is exhausted, but the way Jerry made those of us who love Arkansas Tech feel will last forever.”

Jerry Charles Young I was born on July 17, 2013, in Oklahoma. He traveled home to Arkansas on Sept. 22, 2013. ATU Student Government Association met him on Oct. 23, 2013, and cast a unanimous vote to install him as campus ambassador. He was introduced to the public during a Homecoming Saturday ceremony on Oct. 26, 2013, which was the 103rd anniversary of the first day of classes at Arkansas Tech.

It was the resumption of an Arkansas Tech tradition that dated back to the mid-1930s. The Jerry the Bulldog of the Great Depression era was owned by William O. Young, who oversaw the business affairs of Arkansas Tech as secretary and bursar from 1917-41 and acted as interim president of the college from 1923-25; and his son, Robert A. Young Sr., who grew up to serve as purchasing agent, business manager, vice president for business affairs and vice president for administration and finance at Arkansas Tech from 1941-84 as well as interim president in 1972. Dr. Robert A. Young Jr. has continued his family’s Tech tradition by serving as president of the Arkansas Tech Foundation and as a loyal supporter of Tech athletics.

Over the last nine years, Jerry Charles Young I brought the tradition back by attending a wide variety of campus and alumni events as well as supporting Wonder Boys and Golden Suns student-athletes on the fields and courts of play. He greeted hundreds of campus tours and took thousands of photos. ATU students have often said over the past nine years that Jerry was the reason they chose Arkansas Tech. He reciprocated their affection in full.

Jerry Charles Young II took office as ATU campus ambassador on Oct. 1 and has begun fulfilling the daily responsibilities established by his predecessor.

Those wishing to express their appreciation for Jerry Charles Young I and support the continuation of his legacy are invited to make a memorial donation to the ATU Jerry the Bulldog campus ambassador fund through the ATU Foundation at

Members of the university community and beyond can interact with the ATU campus ambassador program through Jerry the Bulldog’s official @arkansastechjerry Instagram and Facebook accounts.