Meet Sundance, the Owen Library Bear

If you've been in Owen Science & Engineering Library lately, you've probably noticed an impressive Alaskan Brown Bear. The bear was donated to the Charles R. Conner Museum in August of 2006, and it has found a place of honor in Owen Library.Sundance, Owen Library's Bear

Of course, no bear is complete without a name. During September and October of 2006, WSU Libraries sponsored a contest to Name That Bear! There were a total of 527 entries in the contest, which had a top prize of a 25 gift certificate to the Bookie. The winners were selected by a committee consisting of Annette Hanson, the bear's donor, and WSU Libraries faculty and staff. On November 3rd, 2006, during Dad's Weekend, we were pleased to announce that the winner of the contest: WSU Maintenance employee Steve Gray, who suggested the name Sundance. In reference to the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sundance is the perfect name for a bear who shares the campus with Butch. The Libraries also gave special recognition to Brandon Brackett, WSU Residence Education Director, for his campaign efforts to name the bear after Comedy Central personality Stephen Colbert. Brandon formed a Facebook group entitled Name the Owen Science Library Bear after Stephen Colbert, which peaked at 860 members. Members of the group contacted Comedy Central and Stephen Colbert in attempts to raise support, and variations on the name Stephen Colbear garnered an amazing 40% of the votes.

The bear was donated to WSU by the River Center Foundation of the Dungeness River Audubon Center. The donation was arranged by Annette Hanson in honor of her husband, Mark S. Hanson, who passed away in the fall of 2005. According to Annette, WSU just felt like a good home to send the bear to, where thousands of students and the public could see and appreciate it as a beautiful specimen. On behalf of their Foundation and Center, she brought it there in memory of Mark who loved WSU, the Conner Museum, wildlife, and the environment. Mark spent 24 years teaching his love of science to Sequim middle schoolers before he retired. The Hanson family has a proud history of WSU affiliation; Mark received a BS in Zoology in 1973 and a BA in Education in 1975, and Annette is not only a WSU alumna (BA Recreation Program Planning and Administration, 1973) but also worked at the Cougar Club Office from 1973-1974. Their two sons, Sean and Aaron, also attended WSU.

Hear the Full Story

On November 3rd, 2006, librarian Linda Shippert conducted a five and a half minute audio interview with donor Annette Hanson about Sundance's history.
Listen to the interview in your browser, or right click the link to save it.