William and Mary’s most recent search for a mascot began in February 2009. In 1927, the mascot of the College of William and Mary was an alligator. Starting in the 1980s, the term “Indians” was no longer used. Terry Driscoll, chairman of the Mascot Committee, put it this way: “I’ve been here fourteen years and we haven’t had an official mascot in all my time being here.” It seems that the students, alumni, and staff of the College are finally ready to fill our mascot void.
The Mascot Committee officially formed last February. According to Mr. Driscoll, the purpose of the committee was to be open and inclusive to anyone who had a relationship with William and Mary in order to generate ideas for a new mascot. After submissions of ideas for a new mascot were accepted, a three-month response period followed. In order to make commenting and feedback possible regarding the submissions and ideas, the committee started a Twitter account, created a Facebook account, used the alumni magazine, and spread word through campus publications. The three-month period ended on June 30th. After interviewing three firms, William and Mary decided to use a Texas-based design company to design the mascot.
Student involvement remains central to the committee. Seven students in total have been appointed to the committee, and once the submissions are narrowed down to the final four, another response period will begin. This response period will be shorter than the previous one, and will most likely last two to three weeks.
The committee is currently in the process of narrowing down the submissions of the mascot search. About four will make it to the final round. Submissions making it to this round are based on popularity as well as criteria such as merchandising ability and costume practicality. After cuts are made, the design company will pencil sketch each option and market test them for an idea of public opinion. Then the two to three weeks for response will begin, and students, alumni, and staff can comment on these final ideas. Terry Driscoll is hopeful that this process will be completed sometime next semester.
Is William and Mary really ready for a new mascot? Over 600 submissions for a new mascot were received including historical figures, fruits, vegetables, and mythical creatures. With the high rate of participation, a student friendly committee and even some attention from ESPN, it will sure be interesting to see what the College will eventually decide.