For the first time, Notre Dame will have a female leprechaun cheering on the sideline for the Fighting Irish this season.
Lynette Wukie, a sophomore from Elyria, Ohio, was one of three students selected Tuesday to wear the green suit and Irish country hat as Notre Dame’s mascot.
She is the first woman selected since the leprechaun became the school’s official mascot in 1965.
Wukie and junior Samuel Jackson are the second and third African-American students picked as mascots. Notre Dame had its first black leprechaun in 2001.
Sophomore Conal Fagan, the first native Irishman to serve as the leprechaun, is coming back for a second season in 2019, the school said.
In the video Wukie included with her application, she asked, “Who says the Fighting Irish can’t fight like a girl?”
“I talked about being a role model [during the tryout process], because even through high school and into college, it’s always been important to me to be someone people can look up to,” Wukie said in a statement released by the university’s athletics department.
“I think I hadn’t [yet] found that thing, like I wasn’t fulfilling my true purpose here to be that face and that role model, so when this opportunity came about, I thought it was destiny. This is what I’m meant to be doing. … My rector told me, ‘Little girls are going to want to be you,’ so to be that role model for young women is really special.”
The Fighting Irish open the football season at Louisville on Sept. 2.