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The penguin is a long-held symbol of Carleton College dating back to the Antarctic adventures of President Laurence Gould, who brought Oscar the Penguin to the college, a meter-tall stuffed animal currently on display in Gould Library. During the first half of 2005-2006, there was much debate among students about changing the college's official mascot from knight to penguin. The debate petered out as student opinion reached a deadlock and the discussion did not become a part of the college's official agenda.

Even so, the penguin remains a revered symbol at Carleton. Illustrations of penguins adorn Gould Library and its website especially.

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