You’re a Panther. And you love Roary. Every time you see him at football games, you cheer. When you find Roary-themed memorabilia in the bookstore or off-campus, you have to take a closer look. And, yes, you probably have a collection of Roary items scattered around your house – from t-shirts and folders to stuffed animals.
But, how much do you actually know about Roary? For most of us, we only know he’s our mascot.
But today is Roary Day. It’s only fitting that we get to learn more about Roary and celebrate him for who he is – not just for what he does around campus.
Campus: All of them! I go wherever Panther territory is.
Hometown: I’m a Miami kid. And, yes, I plan to stay in Miami at FIU always! They say home is where the heart is, right? And my heart is at FIU!
What do you do in your role at FIU? In a nutshell: I share my enthusiasm for FIU at sports games, parades and campus events! I get to remind people what it means to be blue and gold! If there’s one thing you should know about me: I stand for things I believe in, and I believe in FIU.
Number of years at FIU: All my life. I began as the mascot in August of 2002.
What is your favorite place on campus? That’s a hard one. I’ve got several.
My days are pretty busy, so when I need to just relax or have a quiet moment, I like to sit by any of the ponds and just take in the scenery. I could literally sit for hours and watch the scene from the Bayview Student Living at FIU apartment complex overlooking the bay at BBC. And watching the sunrise from there – yep, it the best seat in the house. There’s also this one pond and a bridge at MMC – you’ve probably heard of it – where you get to watch turtles and fish and stuff. It’s called the Kissing Bridge, and it’s one of my favorite spots – if you know what I mean.
Of course, I like hitting the gym at both campuses, and the Cage at FIU’s football stadium is also one of my favorite training spots – I run up the stadium stairs there (great workout!).
And, now that Vicky’s Café is open at MMC, you might catch me with a pastelito and cafecito in hand at 3:05 p.m.
Words that best describe you: Enthusiastic. Outgoing. Optimistic. Loyal. Some people say I’m cute. I prefer debonair. Or cool.
First paying job: Mascot– landed my dream job as soon as I joined the workforce!
Favorite things to watch: Pink Panther, Rocky, He Got Game and Mighty Ducks 2
Fun facts about you: I run 35 miles an hour (I’ve heard that makes a great cross country runner); I work out three times a week; and I’m the 12th Panther at football.
I’m also friends with many of the other mascots in Florida: Billy the Marlin, Stanley the Panther, Burnie the fireball and TD the dolphin. They even came to one of my birthday celebrations earlier this year. Good times.
What do you do when you are not working at FIU? I love taking long walks on the beach on moonlit nights… Alright, fine, I like going to the beach. And, while I’m there I make sure to get a good tan. People expect my fur to be golden.
What do you enjoy most in your position? Sharing my enthusiasm – joy is contagious, and that’s what I do! Wherever I go, I make people smile, I help them find the passion to cheer and laugh and be proud of being a Panther!
Spreading enthusiasm is rewarding. Just take a look at this photo. Look at these awesome kids at the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. Look at the happiness on their faces. Maybe they think they’re kind of lucky to meet me. But the truth is, I’m the one lucky enough to meet them. There’s nothing else I could do in the world that would make me feel as accomplished as this.
What do you think your fellow Panthers should know about FIU? There’s lots of pretty awesome people at FIU, and they’re doing great things. Just a few examples: Student Jose Fernando Rojas Sanchez interned at the Audi lightweight design center in Neckarsulm, Germany; T.Y. Hilton, who played FIU football a few years back, now plays for the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL; Dr. Aileen Marty, a faculty member at the Wertheim College of Medicine, fights Ebola and Zika; and thousands of students ready to make a difference graduate every semester (4,950 graduated at the end of fall 2016). So, how can I not cheer for FIU? How can I not be enthusiastic about everything we do here and who we are?
Come help me cheer tonight at 7 p.m. at the men’s basketball game against Middle Tennessee State University at the FIU Arena.