Honoring Joy's Memory and Legacy
Baylor University bear mascot Judge Joy Reynolds, known simply as “Joy,” a cherished member of the Baylor Family for 21 years, passed away on July 18, 2022. One of Baylor’s treasured North American Black Bears, Joy will forever be remembered as an enduring symbol of Baylor’s spirit and tradition.
Memorial contributions to honor Joy’s memory and legacy can be made to the Bear Habitat/Mascot Fund. All donations will support important enhancements to the care of Baylor’s live bear mascots. The planned bear retirement facility and continued improvements to the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat will benefit Lady in the coming years and will provide world-class habitats for future generations of North American Black Bear ambassadors who make their home on our campus.
Judge "Joy" Reynolds: A History
Born Jan. 27, 2001, Joy arrived on the Baylor campus as a rambunctious 4-month-old cub. Joy captured the hearts of Baylor students, alumni, faculty and staff and more than 250,000 campus visitors a year. Joy loved the visits from schoolchildren from throughout Central Texas and generations of families, students and alumni, who shared in the thrill of meeting Joy and her sister Lady and learning about the Bears’ unique mission of stewardship, education and conservation.
At Baylor Homecoming in 2005, Joy and Lady celebrated with hundreds of students, alumni and friends as the University officially dedicated their new home, the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat. Joy loved exploring all corners of the greatly expanded facility, which provided a natural environment with two separate yards for roaming and enrichment, along with trees, two pools, a stream and waterfall, two caves and a den. Each day, Joy and Lady could be found playing together, swimming in their pools, napping in the shade (or a sunny spot for Joy) and foraging for their favorite treats. Joy was particularly fond of cherries and avocados.
Joy loved her weekly trips with Lady away from campus to a large enrichment facility where she roamed, climbed trees and enjoyed additional exercise and "goal-based" enrichment strategically planned by her student caregivers. These activities – that were like puzzles or toys – encouraged vertical movement, foraging and digging, which heightened and stimulated both Bears’ sense of smell and sense of sound while strengthening their prolonged focus and more.
In 2021, the University began the first stage of several planned enhancements to the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat. In addition, for Lady’s continued care as she ages into retirement, the University is moving forward on constructing a permanent retirement facility, similar to their on-campus housing, at the Bears’ off-campus enrichment area.
Will you join the Baylor Family by making a gift in honor of Joy’s memory and legacy to support the important enhancements to the care of Lady and Baylor’s future live bear mascots?