‘Monti’ Arrives at WVU Hospitals

Stuffed Mountaineer Bear on sale at Friends Gift Shop

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – He’s traveled to Charleston, Martinsburg, and Newell, to other parts of the state with First Lady Gayle Manchin, and has made his final stop at West Virginia University Hospitals Friends Gift Shop in Morgantown. “Monti,” a plush “Mountaineer bear” manufactured by toy company Gund is on sale now. 

Nicknamed "Monti" after the West Virginia motto, “Montani Semper Liberi – Mountaineers are always free,” the bear comes with a hangtag explaining a brief history of the WVU Mountaineer Mascot, which first appeared at WVU sporting events during the 1936-37 school year. WVU is celebrating 70 years of tradition this year with the first edition of the Monti bear. The price of the bear is $39.99 and can be purchased at the gift shop, online at www.wvuhgift.com, and by phone, at (304) 598-4133.

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.”

The bear is 25 inches tall.

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. They are also planning to provide wireless internet service for patients in the near future.

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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