Governors State to decide mascot with online voting
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org April 8, 2014 6:34PM
Work continues on Prairie Place, a resident hall on the campus of Governors State University. It's part of the University Park school's move to become a four-year university. As part of that effort, the school is also selecting a mascot. | Mike Nolan~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 10, 2014 6:21AM
When Governors State University welcomes its first freshman class this summer, will students be bellowing for the Bengals, giddy over the Gladiators, jumping for the Jaguars or woofing it up for the Prairie Wolves?
As part of its transition to a four-year school, including establishing intercollegiate sports teams, GSU is seeking an official mascot, with four finalists competing in online voting that ends Monday.
Bengals, Gladiators, Jaguars and Prairie Wolves were selected from a field of 200 entries by a search committee of students and faculty.
One student said he wasn’t overly thrilled with any of the finalists.
“I know everybody wants animal names, but I was hoping we’d have a choice of something that hasn’t been done to death everywhere around the country,” Adam McMorrow, who is studying economics, said. “Gladiators is probably the best of them.”
GSU began soliciting mascot suggestions in February from students, faculty and the community at large, with 400 total entries, although some ideas were duplicated, leaving about 200 different ideas, said Michael Drakulich, a university spokesman.
And “different” is the key word when you consider some of the proposed nicknames that were considered, albeit briefly, before being rejected. Apart from those that were tossed out for being obscene, some of the more unusual suggestions included Fighting Blagojeviches, Gnus, Governators, Lemurs, Painted Turtles, Squirrels and Thermometers.
Artist renderings of the finalists are at www.govst.edu/mascot
matchup, and the university plans to announce the winner May 6.
Since opening in University Park (then Park Forest South) in 1971, the university has offered courses for juniors and seniors as well as graduate and post-graduate studies.
“It’s a pretty exciting time in the university’s history,” Drakulich said of becoming a four-year school. “We’re making history.”
For its first freshman class, GSU has received more than 500 applications, but Drakulich said the university is anticipating a “flood” of additional applications as high school seniors near the end of the school year. The deadline to apply is July 11, and the school has set a cutoff of 270 freshmen.
As part of the move to a four-year university, GSU is also building its first student residence hall, Prairie Place. It will have space for 300 students and offer two-bedroom units as well as four-bedroom suites, with community kitchens on each floor.
Despite the abnormally cold and snowy winter, work is on schedule for a July opening of the hall, and plans call for building two more residence halls.
Drakulich said several incoming freshmen have applied to live at Prairie Place, despite now living only a few miles from GSU.