Spying a glimpse of his snowy white behind was said to bring luck, a good grade on a tough exam, or even just a fun weekend. With news of his death on Monday, the University of Houston plunged into grief, the Houston Chronicle reports. Emotional tributes poured in on social media, and a makeshift memorial popped up beneath an ash tree, with a poster headlined "In loving memory" and random student detritus: ketchup packets, soda bottles, and both curly and waffle fries, per KTRK. It wasn't a beloved professor at the center of so much love, but a white-tailed squirrel, the unofficial campus mascot. "With sadness, we share that an unusual campus legend - the white tailed squirrel - has peacefully passed away," tweeted the university's official account. "Thanks for the memories."
Despite not having a proper name, "this beautiful squirrel improved campus morale and positively impacted students with its snowy tail," says a GoFundMe page. Donations to the crowdfunding site quickly surpassed the $550 goal, which organizers say will go toward a ceremony in May, a "more intricate taxidermy job," and "potentially a casing in which the squirrel would reside." Though the campus is said to be rife with squirrels, students tell the Chronicle that the white-tailed squirrel was different. "Seeing him and believing in his luck became a UH tradition," says one student. Memorial organizer Robert Comer adds, "It really says something that right after he died, 50 people shared pictures and videos they had of him." "I'll definitely miss seeing him," adds another student. "There are so many squirrels here, but he was the only one I cared about." (This cat got to keep its library job.)