Hundreds of students, alumni and other members of the College of William and Mary community came to Kaplan Arena at William and Mary Hall Tuesday to see the unveiling of the College’s new mascot, the griffin.
The short ceremony featured outgoing Student Assembly President Sarah Rojas ’10 and Tribal Fever founder Chase Hathaway as emcees, as well as Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D ’06 and Athletics Director Terry Driscoll.
Rojas began the event with a subtle jab at one of the less popular mascot finalists.
“I’m excited to tell you all that our new mascot is the pug — I’m just kidding,” she said.
Hathaway then continued to build the anticipation for the long-awaited unveiling.
“This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for for months and months, or years and years,” he said. “In just a few seconds, our school will no longer not have a mascot.”
Hathaway said that, although the new mascot would hopefully be a part of the College’s identity well into the future, the Tribe moniker would not change.
“We’re still the Tribe, right?” Hathaway said. “Just because we have a cute mascot or mascots, we’re still the Tribe.”
According to Hathaway, the new mascot will help continue the apparent rise in school spirit, as evidenced by increased turnout at athletic events, the football team’s appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision semi-final game and the men’s basketball team’s selection for the National Invitation Tournament.
“There’s been so much school pride this year, and we’re so excited to keep it going,” Hathaway said.
Both Hathaway and Driscoll said that student and community input were taken into consideration before the Mascot Committee’s final decision on the griffin. According to Driscoll, more than 800 people submitted mascot ideas, and many were very unique. The committee received over 22,000 comments on the five mascot finalists, and more than 11,000 people completed the finalist survey.
Following Driscoll’s remarks, Ambler introduced a video on the mascot selection process starring College President Taylor Reveley. Reveley, who could not attend due to a prior commitment in Washington, D.C., looked to a bust of Thomas Jefferson for guidance on the selection.
“The time has come to make a final decision on this matter of the mascot,” Reveley said. “Get me the griffin.”
Upon conclusion of the video, the College’s new green and gold griffin mascot made its first public appearance in the arena.
While each of the five mascot finalists received criticism from some members of the College community, the mascot’s entrance was greeted by applause and cheers from the audience.
“I didn’t really have a preference of the five finalists, but I thought the griffin was a good choice,” Samantha Rumsey ’10 said.
Hillary Nebhut ’10 said that she preferred the griffin from the original release of the five finalists.
“I really wanted the griffin,” she said.
Ambler said that she was pleased with the reception of the new mascot.
“I think this is a great day,” she said. “It was a warm welcome from the Tribe faithful.”