Newman University stages contest to name new mascot

Sep 07, 2010

Newman University is in the final phase of completing a new university mascot and has launched a contest to give the mascot a fitting name. The contest, which will award the winner a new IPad, is open to everyone in the Wichita community and will end Sept. 19. The new mascot will make its first appearance Sept. 27 at halftime of the women’s soccer match on Wilkins Field on the Newman campus.

The new mascot is the result of a longstanding desire by the university community to replace the “Jetbird” mascot, which was retired many years ago. Several surveys were conducted over the years to gain insights into what the mascot might depict for Newman University and its athletics teams, the Jets. Final surveys were conducted and focus groups were held in 2009 to establish a clear understanding of what the majority of Newman fans – students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Newman’s founding religious order – desired in a mascot.

The 2009 survey collected feedback from 414 participants (57 percent female; 43 percent male). Of this group, 42 percent were under age 25; 17 percent were 26-35; 14 percent 36-45; and 27 percent were age 46 or older. The focus groups were made up of students, faculty, staff and members of the Adorers.

Based on this research, the university avoided visual ideas or characteristics of a mascot that would depict war or violence, to keep the mascot true to Newman’s mission. Research also indicated a modern looking mascot as opposed to a nostalgic one fit better with the Adorers and the university’s history of forward thinking, overcoming obstacles, and possessing a spirit that ultimately inspires the transformation of the world.

Newman aviatorFrom this research, a modern aviator in a present-day flight suit complete with helmet and aviator-style sunglasses was developed. A decision was also made to create two mascots, a male and a female. The mascots will appear at university athletic contests to cheer athletes on and pump up the crowd, and will enthusiastically support all life and activities on Newman’s campus. The mascots can also be available to participate in various activities in the greater Wichita community.

“Some of the key features that have been designed into our mascot are changeable expressions, individualized patches to represent the event where the masot appears, and even removable aviator glasses for an added effect,” said Newman Dance and Cheer Coach and Mascot Coordinator Zach Schuman. “With this mascot, Newman has the opportunity to put a face in the community that represents the university, and open doors to the kinds of exposure that are not available with a print ad, flyer or even a TV commercial. Essentially, mascots are walking, waving, dancing, huggable representatives of an organization that generate great interest. Children love mascots, adults love mascots, and they are great rallying icons for teams.”

The mascot costume is created by Hogtown Mascots Inc., of Toronto, Canada. The company has created mascots for such organizations as Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, The Salvation Army and Nintendo.

The male aviator is set to arrive on campus Monday, Sept. 27, at halftime of the women’s soccer home game. The game begins at 7 p.m. The female aviator is not completed but is expected to arrive sometime in 2011.

All members of the Newman and greater Wichita community are invited to enter the contest to name the male aviator mascot. To submit a suggestion, click here. Newman University representatives will also solicit suggestions for the mascot’s name at the Newman Booth in the Meadowlark Building at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Sept. 10 – 19.

On Sept. 20, a mascot committee comprised of Newman students, faculty, staff and alumni will review all submissions and determine the top three, which will be forwarded to the university’s executive cabinet for the final choice. Everyone suggesting the winning mascot name will have their names placed in a drawing for a new IPad to be awarded at the Sept. 27 festivities.

For questions or more information, contact Kelly Snedden at 316-942-4291, ext. 2164, or [email protected].