The class of 2014 will not be the only new addition to Zable Stadium this fall.
After sporadic appearances at baseball games in April and May, the College of William and Mary’s new mascot — the griffin — will make its major public debut at the Sept. 11 football game versus Virginia Military Institute.
“[The mascot] wasn’t what everyone wanted, but people are still rallying around it,” Director of Creative Services Susan Evans said. “I think that’s a really good thing.”
The mascot committee examined 300 unique submissions and narrowed them down to final five concepts — a griffin, a king and queen, a phoenix, a pug and a wren. Survey results revealed that each concept had supporters and detractors. The committee read all of the 11,000 surveys, eventually recommending the griffin in its report to College President Taylor Reveley.
“At the beginning, we hoped that there would be one suggestion that everyone would like, but the process sort of got flipped on its head, because that one never emerged,” Athletic Director Terry Driscoll said. “As we sifted through this, we came out with the griffin as having things that were attributable to the griffin and to the College, and going forward, the griffin could really take on an identity as part of the College.”
Administrators originally planned for the search to take 10 months, with an announcement expected during the 2009 Homecoming festivities. However, the process did not conclude until April 2010. Driscoll and Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 announced the selection of the griffin at a ceremony held in William and Mary Hall April 6.
Upon the search’s conclusion, $25,000 was spent on the mascot’s design and costume. Evans attributed the length of the process to its inclusiveness.
“It’s true it did take us a long time, but when you have a process that is really inclusive, it makes it take longer,” she said. “There are just so many decisions that go into anything like that that you don’t see on the outside.”
According to committee chair Sam Sadler ’64 M. Ed. ’71, the search for a new logo also took longer than expected.
The committee, which was formed after the NCAA ruled in August 2006 that the College had to remove the two feathers from its athletic logo, was given the mandate of creating a new logo, followed by a mascot.
“All along we had thought [that] when the mascot was developed, it could be incorporated — at least we hoped — with the logo,” Sadler said. “[But] I think people were disappointed. They really thought there was going to be some kind of mascot-logo combination, or some new way of expressing saying who we were in logo form that was going to refine the image of the institution.”
Despite mixed reactions, members of both committees said they believe the logo and new mascot will become recognized symbols of the College.
“I think in a few years, no one will remember what we didn’t pick,” Evans said. “The mascot will become a part of the whole place.”