The man behind the mascot

May 2022 mass communications graduate James Smithwick spent part of his time at South Carolina as the official mascot for Cocky’s Reading Express, a literacy initiative that sends Cocky into underserved schools across the state.

“It has been life-changing,” he says. “Some of these kids are in really bad situations, but they’re still kids living normal lives. When they see Cocky, it’s like all their problems go away, and it’s just me and them. My goal is to make sure that they have an amazing time and to spread literacy.”

Next, Smithwick will continue his Gamecock career as a student in the Master of Mass Communication program.

“I can’t wait to pass the torch,” he says, “Cocky made my college career like no one else’s, and the fact that I can pass that on to someone else is really exciting.”

Read the full story, written by Brooke Burris, on the College of Information and Communications website.

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