The tale of Tufts' official mascot, Jumbo the elephant, dates back to 1885. Circus showman P.T. Barnum was an early trustee and benefactor of Tufts and he donated the stuffed hide of Jumbo to the university.
For 86 years, Jumbo stood in Barnum Hall and was a veritable mecca on campus. Students, parents and other campus visitors would pop pennies in his trunk or give a tug on his tail to bring luck for an upcoming exam or athletic competition. Jumbo mania came to a fiery end on April 14, 1975 when Barnum Hall and the beloved elephant were consumed in an electrical fire.
Jumbo's spirit lives on. Some of his ashes were recovered in a peanut butter jar that has remained in the athletics director’s office where students continue to rub it for good luck.
Watch this video for more about the life and time of Tufts’ beloved mascot, Jumbo.