WVU Fans: Say ‘Hello’ to Monti

Stuffed Mountaineer Bear Available at WVU Hospitals Starting Nov. 30



MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University fans will soon have a soft, cuddly friend to add to their WVU collections, just in time for the holiday season. Beginning Nov. 30, WVU Hospitals Friends Gift Shop will be selling “Monti,” a plush “Mountaineer bear” manufactured by toy company Gund. 

Gift Shop Manager Patricia Antion approached Gund in February about developing the bear.

“I conveyed my vision of a West Virginia black bear in Mountaineer garb to Donna Hutchinson, the regional sales manager of Gund,” Antion said. “Their design team put together three initial samples. All were adorable but we chose the largest of the three and made a few changes by adding the WVU logo to the coonskin cap, which is large enough for an adult to wear, and a buckskin-like scarf with the trademark WVU Athletic script.”

Nicknamed "Monti" after the West Virginia motto, “Montani Semper Liberi – Mountaineers are always free,” the bear will come with a hangtag explaining a brief history of the WVU Mountaineer Mascot. The Mountaineer Mascot first appeared at WVU sporting events during the 1936-37 school year. WVU will celebrate 70 years of tradition this year with the first edition of the Monti bear. The price of the bear is $39.99, and the first shipment is guaranteed to be available at the WVU Hospitals Friends Gift Shop by Nov. 30.  Pre-orders for the bears are now being taken through the Gift Shop’s Web site, www.wvuhgift.com, and by phone, at (304) 598-4133.

Money raised from the sale of Monti will go to the Friends of West Virginia University Hospitals. The Friends support patient care and comfort through several programs, including greeting cards for patients and providing a tea cart in the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.

Established in 1898 and headquartered in Edison, N.J., Gund is the originator of the "understuffed" quality that makes its plush products so huggable. Monti, the Mountaineer Bear, is the company’s first collegiate piece.

- WVU -

For more information:
Steve Bovino, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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