Be a part of selecting a new mascot to represent the University of North Georgia!
As part of the consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University (pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and final authorization by the USG Board of Regents in January), our campus communities will select a new mascot to further unify our institutions and to positively and distinctively represent the new institution, the competitiveness of its athletic program, and student spirit. The goal is to reveal the new mascot in January 2013 and for it to become effective beginning with fall semester 2013.
A mascot work group, comprising students, faculty and staff members, and alumni from each school solicited input from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community supporters through an online survey and email suggestions to help inform the work group’s discussions. That process resulted in more than 9,000 submitted surveys and more than 750 different suggestions. The work group submitted a short list of recommendations to the Consolidation Implementation Committee, which used that information and considered other factors, to include mascots already used by other area schools, Peach Belt Conference competitors, and other NCAA Division II mascots, to further refine the list to three finalists: Golden Eagles, Nighthawks and Warriors. Information about each of these is provided below. The committee elected to have currently enrolled students select the new mascot through an online voting process that will occur Sept. 26 through Oct. 5.
- Golden Eagles – very large birds of prey that use a combination of strength and speed to catch and overpower small animals. They can grow to have a wingspan of more than seven feet. They prefer to nest in areas sporting high altitudes and long lines of sight. Because of their prowess and intelligence, they have been used in falconry (the sport of training a raptor to hunt prey) since the Middle Ages. It is seen as a sacred animal by many Native-American tribes. Though less agile than smaller raptors such as hawks and falcons, the golden eagle is blazingly fast when diving to strike prey, and is capable of reaching speeds up to 150 miles per hour. They are also able to take on much larger prey than other raptors, feeding on animals as dangerous as red foxes. Golden eagles are also known for the ferocity with which they will protect their nests; the only known predators of golden eagle nests are wolverines and brown bears. Notable traits: One of the biggest raptors; strong and very fast; fiercely protective; intelligent; dominant.
- Nighthawks – nocturnal birds that hunt at dusk and dawn, and they can be found over the majority of North America, including Georgia. The common nighthawk has prominently pointed wings and intricately camouflaged feathers that make it difficult to see when roosting. With a wing span of up to two feet, nighthawks are extremely agile birds. Nighthawk males are able to make a unique sound by diving and performing a quick downward flex of the wings, allowing air to rush through their wingtips resulting in a deep booming sound. They migrate every year, sometimes at distances of up to nearly 7,000 miles. Notable traits: Highly agile and quick; difficult to see when not flying; long-distance flyers.
- Warriors – courageous and disciplined people who typically work in teams to vigorously defend and support their country or homeland. Throughout the ages and various cultures, they have been viewed as brave and loyal, and are willing to do whatever is necessary to accomplish their mission. Notable traits: Warriors are symbols of bravery, loyalty, and principled morality.
Gainesville State College was founded in 1964 as Gainesville Junior College and in the early years began an athletic program. The teams were known as the “Lakers,” and the school’s colors were blue, gold and white. Intercollegiate athletics were eliminated in the mid-1980s, but the anchor, other nautical symbolism and colors remained a key part of the institutional identity. In 1997, the college retired the “anchor” logo as well as the blue and gold.
A new identity was unveiled to include the “bell tower” logo, and hunter green and black became the colors of Gainesville State College. In the mid-2000s, students turned a joke about the plethora of Canada Geese on the Gainesville Campus into an idea for a mascot. The “Fighting Geese” emerged from that process and the mascot is characterized as “Laker T. Goose.” Today, the mascot serves to promote school spirit and camaraderie.
In the early days of athletic programs at North Georgia, the men’s athletic teams were known as the “Cadets.” Women’s intercollegiate basketball began at North Georgia in 1971, and initially, that team was called the “Gold Diggers.” In 1972, with intercollegiate athletics growing at North Georgia, the student body elected to adopt a Saint Bernard dog as the athletic mascot. The students also chose the nickname of the “Saints” for the teams. Today, North Georgia College & State University competes in the NCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference and fields teams in baseball, basketball, women’s cross country, golf, rifle, soccer, softball, and tennis. The colors of North Georgia’s athletics program are blue and white.