General Beauregard Lee, Georgia’s resident groundhog with a talent for weather prognostication, visited Tech during its annual Campus Services Carnivale on Feb. 2.
Lee, who holds two honorary doctorates from the University of Georgia (UGA) and Georgia State, has been predicting the changing of seasons since 1988. He lives year-round at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Gwinnett County and has been accurate in 94 percent of his predictions, compared to the 85 percent success rate of a certain Puxatawney Phil. Due to his record of successes, Lee has been commended by four Georgia governors and by the National Weather Service on two separate occasions.
Following this year’s shadowless prediction of an early spring, Lee made his first-ever visit to Tech. He was stationed in a plexiglass box near Panda Express for the duration of the Campus Services Carnivale.
“He’s really excited to be here at Tech,” said Codi Reeves, one of Lee’s attendants. “It’s a little funny that he doesn’t have a degree from here yet … but as far as that [rivalry with UGA] goes, we’ll plead the Fifth.”
Patrons of the Campus Services Carnivale were equally thrilled by Lee’s presence.
“She talked for almost an hour straight about how excited she was to see this groundhog,” said one student in reference to her friend as they stood near Lee’s display in the Student Center.
“I’m content now,” said Elizabeth, the groundhog aficionado.
“I haven’t seen him yet, but I’m planning on it and looking forward to it,” said Tristan Gaskins, first-year ME. “If UGA was trying to give him an engineering degree, it’d be different, but [giving him a doctorate in weather prognostication] is totally fine.”
Many students expressed concerns regarding Lee’s presence in a box, which handlers said was for his safety as well as that of spectators at risk of an errant bite.
“He shouldn’t have to be in a box,” said Gabby Oliberio, first-year INTA and ECON. “Animals should be free.”
A trio of students representing the Student Center Programs Council took a slightly different approach.
“That groundhog’s name is definitely bangin’,” said Matt McCoy, third-year CS.
“Can we get him a bigger box?” asked Sydney Holloway, first-year UEC.
“You don’t get to be that good at predicting the weather by being nice all the time, you know what I’m saying? You gotta bite your way to the top,” said Joseph Hooper, third-year CS.
Lee’s prediction of an early spring was met with enthusiasm.
“I’m glad to hear spring’s coming,” said a representative of the Reck Club. “That would be nice for the Reck. It doesn’t like the cold weather very much.”
While making his rounds outside of the Student Center, Buzz indicated that he was displeased with Lee’s presence on campus and wanted to fight him for the title of true mascot of Tech.