His name is Francis and he is our mascot for a number of reasons, all of which are important.
First, Francis the owl is named after Sir Francis Bacon, the Father of the Scientific Method. Francis Bacon is the most important person you’ve probably never heard of.
Throughout his life, he contributed to the advancement of knowledge in countless areas, bringing the world out of the Dark Ages into the Enlightenment.
After his death, his ideas were the kindling used by a handful of the world’s greatest thinkers like Isaac Newton, Voltaire, and John Locke to ignite the fire of the Enlightenment across Europe through methodical, scientific analysis, empowering humans - as individuals - to take back control of their lives from the tyrannical despots of the day - in all forms: body, mind, and spirit.
He relied not just upon his ideas, but upon empirical evidence for the validation of those ideas. The thoughts he chose to write down, to push into the collective conscious of the human race through his books, plays, and poems, were radical in the 1600s. They’re ironically even more relevant today. They were heretical in the best way.
His patron saint was the Truth. Sir Francis Bacon believed that science is the exploration of nature. And so do we. Science and nature are not at odds - as the modern medical machine would like you to think. In fact, one is the exploration of the language of the other.
Bacon’s mind was the gravitational pull that, within a century inspired men like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington in the establishment of the Colonies in the Americas: a Utopian idea, a new Atlantis. But unlike so many Utopian projects before it, and after… this one actually worked.
Jefferson proclaimed in one of his many letters during the American Revolution,
“Bacon, Locke, and Newton; I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the physical and moral sciences.”
Sir Francis Bacon’s devotion to the advancement of learning, to the pursuit of truth through scientific exploration of nature, has inspired us to mold our owl in his namesake.
What Does The Owl Have To Do With It?
The owl is an ancient Greek symbol of Wisdom. Greek mythology states that owl sat on the blind side of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, so she could always see the whole Truth. We all have blind spots; we need Francis the owl to remind us to see the truth - that there is always a Truth, a higher ideal to pursue.
Pericles, the renowned and respected statesman who ushered in the Golden Age of Athens in the 5th century, used the owl as his symbol. His rise to power was reluctant, but the people needed him, and he led them into the greatest time in the history of Greece - now known as the Classical Period of Greek history, still referenced as one of the greatest periods of prosperity in health, wealth, philosophy, and art in recorded human history.
The symbol of Pericles, coupled with the spirit of Sir Francis Bacon’s devotion to truth and reason are the bedrock of the UMZU owl, Francis. Francis is a symbol for all that is good in the advancement of human knowledge through the pursuit of wisdom in the study of nature through science. Francis represents UMZU with the poise and prudence needed to cut through the fog in today’s world, to shine the light on what is right and true and good for the human race.