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Although badgers in various forms appeared as the UW-Madison mascot for decades, the version that is currently known as Bucky was first drawn in 1940 by professional illustrator Art Evans. Evans worked for a California printing company and had done several college logo characters, including Minnesota's Goldie the Gopher and Purdue's Boilermaker. In 1949, a pep rally contest was held to determine the mascot's name. Buckingham U. Badger was selected as the formal name, but most people refer to him as Bucky.

The Bucky Badger figure was developed for use as an athletic team mascot, so although the Bucky image engenders strong feelings about UW-Madison and is used around campus in a variety of “spirit” materials, it is a sports symbol and thus unsuitable for academic or institutional publications.

The Office of Trademark Licensing regulates the use of Bucky. The trademark licensing office oversees the use of trademarks (such as Bucky) on apparel and other merchandise. Only companies officially licensed by the university are allowed to produce items using the trademarked Bucky. Trademark licensing creates a cooperative and positive working relationship between the university, the manufacturers of approved and authorized products and the retailers of these products. Today, Bucky is on just about everything!

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