The Great Seal of Virginia
Seal was a googly-eyed mutt adopted by students and staff of the University of Virginia in the 1940s. He was a near ubiquitous presence, mooching at the dining hall and catching naps in the back of classrooms.
Seal attached himself to the UVA football team, and attended away games as designated dog mascot, wearing a blue blanket emblazoned with an orange "W" as he wandered the sidelines. In 1949, during halftime at a Pennsylvania football game in Philadelphia, Seal walked to the Penn sideline, approached the cheerleaders' megaphones, and peed on one.
His immortality in college sports history was guaranteed. He became known as the "Great Seal of Virginia."
Seal went on to perform other campus antics, until he developed health problems and was put to sleep on December 11, 1953. A grand funeral was held, and about 1,500 friends and fans paid their condolences as Seal was buried in the University of Virginia Cemetery.
Well, not exactly in the cemetery. That's reserved for 1,100 dead Confederate soldiers, sundry University faculty and other dignitaries. We spent 20 minutes deciphering faded inscriptions on stone markers before a police officer directed us over the wall and across Cemetery Road.
Seal and his mascot predecessor, Beta, are remembered with side-by-side tombstones displaying a photograph of each in his prime. Seal is wearing a helmet and standing on a football.
"To perpetuate the
memory of SEAL
Mascot and Friend of
the students of the University
Died Dec. 11, 1953 "
A rope barrier keeps the curious at bay.