Ever since Colonel Ebirt, an amorphous green blob wearing a tri-cornered hat, was retired as the College of William and Mary’s unofficial mascot in 2005, the issue of finding a replacement has been eclipsed by more urgent issues.
Interim College President Taylor Reveley said the reason he hesitated to begin the search is because “mascots are a very dangerous subject.”
“I think that could either go very well and be a very entertaining and unifying thing, or it could turn into a huge mess,” he said. “And since we don’t need any messes right now, we haven’t gotten started.”
Reveley said the Tribe itself is a mascot.
“We actually aren’t mascot-less because we have the concept of the Tribe. And that is what most people would call a mascot,” he said. “It’s just that it doesn’t have any physical manifestation.”
Nevertheless, some students and administrators have been discussing the next mascot — especially after the College’s new logos were unveiled last year to general dislike. The Student Assembly will vote tonight on a bill to create a committee that would organize student submissions and provide a $500 reward to the student whose idea wins.
According to Reveley, several possibilities have come to his attention.
“On the bird front, there are two contending fowl. There’s the Phoenix, which frankly I like, but there’s also the Wren, the Fighting Wren, that has a very powerful constituency,” he said. “And then there are those who say, whatever we do, no birds.”
During an address to the Board of Visitors in April, Reveley spoke at
length about the phoenix, comparing it to the College in that both overcome challenges and emerge stronger.
Reveley said that when the time comes to officially choose a new mascot, he hopes open discussions prompt diverse ideas.
“Let’s let a thousand flowers bloom,” he said. “Let’s have all the suggestions anybody has come in, and let’s see what shakes out.”