The man behind the University of Minnesota's famous mascot has passed away.
Steve Wanvig, who designed the current iteration of Goldy Gopher back in the mid-1980s, died at the age of 70 after a long illness earlier this month, according to his obituary.
Wanvig was a graphic artist at Jostens — the company known for its class rings and yearbooks — for over 38 years, and in that capacity was tasked with redesigning Goldy.
His work wasn't well-received at first. According to the U of M's biography of the mascot, Wandig's first design, unveiled in 1985 (pictured below), was a little too aggressive and tough-looking for most people.
"In response to public criticism," the U's Athletics department asked Wanvig to give it another try and tone down the gopher.
The resulting work was a "less fierce" Goldy, and it stuck. The design is the one we all know today, and in 2013, it was immortalized as a bronze statue that now stands outside the Coffman Memorial Union building on the U of M campus.
As the U notes, Goldy officially appeared as a mascot for the first time in the 1940s.
Wanvig, a Minneapolis native, was a U of M alum himself, having graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor's degree in fine arts, his LinkedIn says.
He spent most of his career at Jostens, though in the mid-70s had a stint as a courtroom artist for KSTP.
Wanvig's obituary says that he had battled cancer "off and on for 28 years." He's survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren.