After committee survey, college community united against pug

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January 22, 2010

1:19 AM

The five mascot options have evoked countless reactions among students and alumni of the College of William and Mary, but one thing is for certain: No one likes the pug.

“The pug is not very mascot-like,” Hannah Thornton ’10 said. “It isn’t a very tough animal and is a very odd choice.”

The Mascot Search Committee justified the pug concept by saying that King William III and Queen Mary II, the College’s namesakes, both owned pugs. Students are not impressed.

“The fact that William and Mary owned pugs is not a good enough reason to have one as a mascot,” Michelle Noyes ’10 said. “It is unattractive and weak and fails to capture the elegance, history and academic excellence of the school. No one will understand it.”

Joining the unfavored pug on the list of finalists released by the Mascot Search Committee Dec. 8 are the king and queen, the phoenix, the griffin and the wren. Torch Creative, LLC. developed the concepts final artistic rendorings.

The committee created an online survey for people to share their opinions of the concepts, and, according to the committee, nearly 11,200 people participated. Roughly 3,500 of the online survey’s voters were students, representing nearly 45 percent of the student body.

With numerous Facebook groups devoted to the mythological bird, the phoenix had strong support even before the mascot search committee had been formed, and its favor has not dwindled.

“I like the phoenix because it symbolizes the school’s history and how it’s still standing after all these years,” Noyes said.

Thornton, however, prefers the wren because of its connection to the College and the historical significance of the Wren Building as the oldest academic building continues in use in the country. Thornton also said the wren would be a unique mascot.

“No one else has the wren,” Thornton said.

The mascot committee said the new mascot should reflect the spirit of the school but also be an intimidating force during athletic events. Students said the mascot should convey the college’s athletic determination and competitive nature despite its small size.

“The phoenix and the griffin are my two favorites,” said Tribal Fever executive board member Robert VanGundey ’13. “The phoenix is fiery and excitable. The griffin is strong and forceful. I don’t think the queen and king would be good for Tribe pride; they are kind of awkward. It strikes me as something that would not be good on the sidelines.”

There are some who think that none of the concepts would give the College a competitive edge during games.

“I wasn’t crazy about any of them,” Douglas Wood ’63, J.D. ’72, President of the Williamsburg Alumni Chapter, said. “There really aren’t any of them that struck me as anything that would be suitable for William and Mary. I didn’t think they added anything to the William and Mary sports teams.”

According to the committee, the five finalists are just concepts, and the ultimate appearance of the mascot will be developed after a basic idea is chosen.

College President Taylor Reveley will choose the final mascot. The Office of the President said there is no set date for Reveley to reveal his choice and the decision is still in the works, though Revely has said that he hopes the decision will be reached sometime this year.

In the end, students said they would still support the College no matter which mascot the committee ultiametly chooses to represent the school.

“Whatever mascot we end up with, we will always be the Tribe,” VanGundey said. “We won’t let [the mascot] diminish the spirit of the Tribe.”

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