Farewell to Howard the Duck

Nathan Turoff, Features Editor

 As an avid Howard fan, and the former Critter Columnist, writing this is easily the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever had to write about. I had been putting it off for months, keeping optimistic that he would come back, but I think it’s time I learn to move on, and the student body should do the same. Howard the Duck will likely never come back.

Howard goes for a stroll, Photo by Nathan Turoff

I don’t want to be right about this. Deep down, I hope I am wrong, and that the day after this is published, Howard shows up, and I lose all my credibility. I’d put that on the line for Howard, but again, thinking realistically, this will probably not be the case. It’s been almost six months since Howard was last seen on the UNF premises, and with no sign of his return, and with conflicting reports that he may be living elsewhere in Jacksonville, his permanent departure feels like a foregone conclusion.

Howard approaches a bench, Photo by Nathan Turoff

Howard is iconic to any UNF student who has attended in the past five years. Being the sole white waterfowl on Candy Cane Lake, Howard was always a treat for freshmen, housing students, and people on their way to the cafeteria. He was incredibly lovable, and was never afraid of interacting with people. Students would often feed him, but he never seemed reliant on it.

Howard takes a nap, Photo by Nathan Turoff

After five months with no students on campus due to COVID-19, returning students in fall semester were wondering what happened to their favorite duck, and freshmen became blissfully unaware of what they were missing. Howard was gone, and nobody can tell for sure when he left.

Howard out for a swim, Photo by Nathan Turoff

The prevailing theory, and this is just a theory, is that Howard left after many months without anyone on campus for him to be around. 

Howard waddles ashore, Photo by Nathan Turoff

Howard was a blessing upon UNF, and anyone and everyone who was fortunate enough to experience him knows that. But that’s the thing, something isn’t good because it lasts. The classic idiom “all good things must come to an end” rings true especially now. Time keeps on moving, life is not eternal. Although we did not want to confront it, deep down we all knew our time with Howard wasn’t eternal, we just didn’t expect it to be this soon.

Howard overlooks his domain, Photo by Nathan Turoff

While it is gut-wrenching to admit, wherever Howard is now, he is almost certainly happy. Howard was always a happy soul, and I don’t think that would ever change. I am certain that Howard thinks about us with the same joyful memories we associate with him. Our dear friend Howard may be gone from UNF, but he will almost certainly never be forgotten, not by me, not by you, and not by the thousands of people whose hearts he melted with his quacks and waddles. 


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