SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Bryant University President Ronald Machtley shared some sad news with students and staff Thursday morning. The school’s beloved mascot, Ironclad Tupper, died Wednesday night from an apparent stroke.

“Tupper was our first official school mascot and a wonderful symbol of grit and determination for our students,” Machtley said in an email. “He was bright, friendly, and always willing to lend a paw when needed to cheer on our teams or welcome new students. He will be sorely missed.”

(Scroll down for a photo gallery of Tupper through the years)

According to Tupper’s Facebook page, the dog collapsed in the middle of Festival of Lights.

Tupper’s handler told Eyewitness News, “Tupper loved coming to campus and getting scratches and love from everyone. He was our family member – mine and my parents. He spent most of his time getting pampered at home with a fresh, home-cooked species appropriate diet and lots of walks and belly rubs.”

Machtley said the school will immediately begin a search for Tupper’s replacement with “the hope and expectation that Tupper II will bring the same sense of pride to many events at which he will represent Bryant’s spirit.”

Machtley added, “No school could have asked for a better, more loyal, and friendly mascot. Ironclad Tupper was much loved and his memory will always be cherished.”