Missing winter mascot retires

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Photo courtesy of McKay Archives Center

Emma Poole and Jack Sobel

“Dean Holiday,” the Florida Southern College snowman, has gone into retirement. 

The snowman, which used to preside over the campus each holiday season,  will not be put up again, according to a statement received from President Dr. Anne Kerr’s office.

“Dean Holiday had an accident coming off the Branscomb Auditorium roof,” Dr. Kerr said in an email. “After that traumatic experience, which caused great physical harm, he decided to retire permanently.”

The snowman, made of awning-like material and one-inch metal, has not been displayed since the 2017 holiday season, according to Facebook posts from Florida Southern. 

As for the future of FSC snowmen, there will most likely not be one. 

“There are no family members to replace him,” Dr. Kerr said. 

Dean Holiday has had an extensive history at Florida Southern, based on records obtained from the McKay Archives Center; he was first created in 1964 and became a tradition since then. 

His prominent position on campus,  combined with his annual appearance in the Lakeland Holiday Parade, made him a staple of the FSC community. 

The early years presented a challenge: how to lift Dean Holiday to its position on top of the planetarium. 

Different methods were employed, first by “manhandling” it into place, then using the Lakeland Fire Department’s ladder-truck, and even by using a helicopter. 

Eventually, Dean Holiday would get a graduation cap to help celebrate the graduates of that year.

Based on photos taken throughout the years, the snowman was featured on top of the Polk Science Planetarium, Branscomb Auditorium, and the Loca Lee Buckner Theatre. 

Dean Holiday is not only remembered by faculty at Florida Southern, but its appearance was also a staple of the holiday season in the Lakeland community. Various Facebook users who commented on Florida Southern’s page fondly remembered making trips to see the snowman, and several stated that it was not Christmas until Dean Holiday was in place.

There could potentially be interest by some students in searching for a replacement for Dean Holiday to keep this Lakeland tradition strong. 

But, for now, Dr. Kerr reassures all students, faculty and alumni that Dean Holiday is enjoying retirement. 

Whether or not the iconic snowman adorns the top of one of the buildings on campus, it is still very much alive in the hearts of the FSC and Lakeland community. 

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