FAU Mascot Wears Owlsley Feet One Last Time
When Joshua Puchferran graduated from Florida Atlantic University, he revealed a secret that he’d been keeping for four years. Puchferran, 23, had been serving as FAU mascot, Owlsley, since 2013. Last week, he walked across the stage in his cap, gown and Owlsley feet to receive his master’s degree in accounting from FAU’s College of Business.
Puchferran grew up in Boca Raton and knew early on that he wanted to attend FAU. Both of his older brothers went to FAU, and his friend’s dad was a defensive coordinator for the football team. Puchferran even served as a ball boy for the football team as a teenager.
“I knew I wanted to go to FAU from the beginning,” he said. “It was the only school I applied to.”
During his first semester at FAU, Puchferran saw an advertisement looking for a student manager for the FAU mascot program. He thought it would be fun to attend football games and student events with Owlsley, so he applied and interviewed for the job. Instead of offering him the manager position, they asked him if he’d like to be Owlsley.
“Another Owlsley had just left, so the timing was perfect,” he said. “I knew it was a great opportunity.”
Since becoming an FAU mascot in October 2013, Puchferran has attended hundreds of student and athletic events, including traveling with the football team to their away games. He’s been to off-campus fundraisers, weddings and events at the Eleanor R. Baldwin House, the home of FAU President John Kelly. He says his favorite part of the job was spending time with students and kids.
“I always enjoyed going over to FAU’s A.D. Henderson University School and meeting the elementary school students,” he said. “Their faces lit up when they saw Owlsley.”
Jamie Ortiz, team advisor for the FAU mascot program, said Puchferran has been an important part of the program and strives to make it better every day.
“If there was one person that I know who has the most FAU spirit, it would be Josh,” he said. “His dedication, passion and commitment to the program have created an environment of excellence, and we hope that the Owlsley program will continue to attract more students like Josh.”
When he wasn’t in his Owlsley costume, Puchferran was involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and FAU Student Government. He served in the Boca Raton House of Representatives his freshman year and served as chief of staff for the Boca Raton campus governor his sophomore year. He said getting involved on campus was important to him since he was a commuter student.
“So many students come to campus for class and then leave right after,” he said. “By serving in Student Government, I was able to meet people and have a true college experience.”
Even with his busy schedule, Puchferran still managed to excel in the classroom. He is a member of FAU’s Accounting Scholars Program, where he finished his bachelor’s degree in accounting in three years and continued into the master’s program. He was an active member of Beta Alpha Psi, the honorary organization for financial information students, and worked as a graduate assistant for undergraduate accounting courses.
“Josh is a warm, positive person who is quick to volunteer to help his fellow students,” said Angela Gaze, faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi and an instructor in FAU’s School of Accounting. “His contagious smile and easygoing nature make him a pleasure to work with.”
After doing an internship last summer at Grant Thornton, one of the world’s largest accounting firms, Puchferran has accepted a full-time position with the company starting in January.
“I’ve experienced FAU in ways that other students will never have the chance to do,” he said. “If you don’t get involved, then you are truly missing out.”