Kingman, introduced as Handsome Dan XIX, set to reign
Yale announced Kingman as the successor to Walter, Handsome Dan XVIII, who retired earlier this spring, in a photo-filled reveal on Thursday morning.
On Thursday morning, Yale introduced Handsome Dan XIX in an official announcement as the successor to Walter, Handsome Dan XVIII, who retired earlier this spring.
Following XVIII’s retirement due to his handler Kevin Discelopo’s ’09 departure from New Haven, the search for Yale’s next mascot had been private until the reveal Thursday morning.
Born Jan. 2, the new puppy has been living in New Haven with his handler, Kassandra “Kassie” Haro ’18 since Feb. 28. The Berkeley College alumna will train, socialize and manage the pup’s public appearances. Unlike Discepolo, who worked in the Athletic Department before taking a new job in New York last fall, Haro works in the Yale University Visitor Center. Haro told the News that Dan XIX’s name is Kingman and that he will also call the Visitor Center his home.
“I am ecstatic. To see how loved he is already, by the community makes me even happier,” Haro wrote in an email to the News Thursday afternoon. “He is the most inquisitive puppy I’ve ever met. He loves exploring new spaces, meeting new people, attention, and treats.”
Haro added that Kingman sleeps with his favorite toy, a plush lobster, each night.
Discepolo, the former assistant athletic director of facilities, operations and events at Yale Athletics, still lives with Walter and now works at BSE Global, the Brooklyn company that operates and manages the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets and other affiliated teams.
Kingman is the nephew of Walter via Dan XIX’s mother, who is a sibling of Walter’s. Both are Olde English Bulldogges.
As compared to English bulldogs, Olde English Bulldogges tend to be healthier, live longer and have an easygoing temperament, according to the International Olde English Bulldogge Association. The breed is a mix of English bulldog, bullmastiff, American pit bull terrier and American bulldog meant to mimic the original, extinct English Bulldogge of the 17th and 18th centuries.
“He’s showing the spirited commitment to Yale embodied by his predecessors — not to mention a remarkable ability to bring delight to all whose paths he crosses,” remarked University President Peter Salovey in the announcement. “We’re lucky to have found a worthy and, indeed, handsome dog to carry on the legacy.”
Handsome Dan’s social media pages underwent a rebrand almost instantaneously, with the official reveal including links to accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Dan XIX will also feature on a new TikTok account. The Handsome Dan account has already posted videos and pictures and begun responding to tweets.
Students received the news with enthusiasm, sharing the announcement photo on various social media accounts and gushing about the puppy. Beatrice Maron Schaeffer ’24 was surprised to hear that there would be a new Handsome Dan in her first year but said she was elated at the prospect of having a new mascot in the community.
“[It is] really exciting, in our first year, to have the new bulldog,” she said. “We kind of get to grow up with him.”
Maron Schaeffer also noted her excitement at a Berkeley alum being the handler. She hopes Berkeley Head of College David Evans will expand “paw-ffice” hours with his dog Brie to occasionally include Handsome Dan XIX in the coming years.
Shots of Dan XIX wearing a Yale-blue bandana in various campus locations accompanied the announcement. Dan will continue his role as one of the most loyal supporters of Yale teams and Yale Athletics as a frequent presence on the sidelines and in the stands, but Haro said she also hopes to “diversify and expand” his activities in the future.
Dan XIX was one of nine puppies in his litter.
Ángela Pérez | email@example.com
Correction, March 19: The subhead in a previous version of this article said Kingman, as Handsome Dan XIX, was succeeding Handsome Dan XIII. The subhead has been updated to correct the error — the puppy actually follows Handsome Dan XVIII, not XIII.