Marquette Wire

Students express shock at mascot choice

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When University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild announced the decision to change the university's nickname to "Gold," the roughly 100 students and faculty waiting in the Alumni Memorial Union shared the same reaction: shock.

Part of the crowd was visibly disappointed, while others surrounded Darren Thompson, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Mark Denning, the original First Warrior, and embraced them.

Brian Collar, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, called the decision a "public relations disaster."

"It's a worse decision than if they had actually stuck with the Golden Eagles," he said. "Personally, I think it's the first time since before 9/11 that the entire university can agree on one thing, and that's how ridiculous this decision is."

Students rallied Wednesday night on Westowne Mall to protest the board of trustees' decision.

"I don't think 'Gold' is a good logo," said Russell Steinbrenner, a freshman in the College of Engineering. "It was never brought up as a logo. It came out of nowhere."

"I thought the argument was between Warriors and Golden Eagles," said Theresa DiCello, a College of Arts & Sciences junior. The board "stripped our identity," she said.

Some students at the rally though, felt the entire debate was unimportant.

"It doesn't change what the school is," said College of Arts & Sciences junior Jim Virtel. "It doesn't matter. I'm just glad we didn't go back to Willy Wampum."

Faculty members' reactions to the decision were mixed, with some questioning the move and others supporting it.

The Rev. John Naus, associate professor of philosophy, said he has been at Marquette for 43 years and has seen the name change from Hilltoppers to Golden Avalanche to Warriors to Golden Eagles.

"We survived all those changes, and I know we'll survive this one," Naus said.

However, Naus was not without question.

"My interest now is, what do you get for a mascot?" he said.

Michael Duffey, associate professor of theology, said the new nickname sets the university apart from other schools that have the Golden Eagles as their mascot.

"I don't think people were ever really taken with the name Golden Eagles," he said.

"It's unique," Duffey said of the new moniker. "I could live with this Gold."

Thompson offered a much different reaction.

"I've been anti-Warrior since the beginning, and my goal was to oppose the name change," Thompson said. "We've been very successful in that matter. I'm pretty ecstatic that we did not go back to Warriors."

Tim Horneman of the Tribune staff contributed to this report.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on May 5 2005.

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