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Former WIU mascot Col. Rock III passes away

Western Illinois University is mourning the loss of the English Bulldog that put in 8 years as the school's adorable mascot.

MOLINE, Ill. — The Western Illinois University community is mourning the loss of an iconic dog that served as the school's mascot for 8 years.

The university announced the death of the nearly 11-year-old Colonel Rock III, or Rocky, in a news release on January 25 after he passed away that morning.

Rocky joined the university on May 15, 2010, becoming the school first live, four-legged mascot since the 1970's; eventually retiring in 2018 and passing the torch to his younger cousin Ray, who became Col. Rock IV.

Rocky was taken in by Joe (executive director of auxiliary services and risk management) and Ketra Roselieb (executive director of personnel and financial affairs) was he was a 10-week-old puppy after being donated to the university, who made sure he was taken good care of.

"He was a part of the Roselieb family – and the Leatherneck family – for nearly 11 years. It has been an honor and privilege to care for Rocky. He was the perfect dog to bring the mascot program back to life, and it was truly a privilege and a joy being his person," Joe said. "Ketra and I will miss him so much, as will so many others. He was such a good boy. 

Donations in Rocky's memory can be made to the Col. Rock Fund, which helps supplement the live mascot program. Text the word "COLROCK" to 41444 to make a gift of any size to the WIU Foundation. Donations, made payable to WIU Foundation, can also be sent to: WIU Foundation, 303 Sherman Hall, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390. Contributors who send in donations are asked to include a note that designates the gifts for Colonel Rock's Fund. 

A Facebook page commemorating Rocky's antics, appearances, and adorableness over the years can be found here.