Who remembers the Clark kangaroo?
We don’t, either. But the scarlet-and-white marsupial, complete with a baby in its pouch and adorned with the letters CU, seems to have been a presence on the Clark campus in the late 1940s.
The stuffed kangaroo has made it back to Clark as part of the disposition of the estate of Joseph Kouri ’47 and his wife, Isabel. With no children or family, the estate’s trustee worked to find meaningful homes for the Kouris’ belongings. And what could be more meaningful than sending the kangaroo back where it started?
Clearly, the toy was known on campus in Joseph Kouri’s time — the 1946 Pasticcio features a large photo of it, sitting on a counter in what appears to be a store that sold candy like Mounds and “Washburn’s Ko-Ko Bombs” (2 cents each). And in 1945, The Scarlet editors strongly urged the adoption of “Leapin’ Lena” as the school mascot.
“Why shouldn’t Clark have its Kangaroo? Can you imagine the innovation when the Scarlet and White takes the floor and a Kangaroo is jumping center!!”
Obviously, Leapin’ Lena never became the official Clark mascot, and athletic teams were simply known as the Scarlets until the late 1960s, which begs the question: Could there be other species of scarlet-and-white animals out there bearing the CU stamp? If you know, we’d love to hear about it.