College president calls for run-off in mascot search

LAWRENCEVILLE - Two contenders remain in Georgia Gwinnett College's search for a mascot.

Earlier this month, students cast their votes for their favorite potential mascot out of a group of five: the Centurions, the Generals, the Green Knights, the Grizzlies and the Patriots.

Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel Kaufman was tasked with selecting a winner from the top three vote-getters - the Generals, the Green Knights and the Grizzlies - and his decision was scheduled to be announced Friday.

Instead, Kaufman has elected to have the students vote in a run-off between the Generals and the Grizzlies, the mascots that garnered the most votes.

Kaufman could not be reached by telephone Tuesday evening, but the college released a statement about his decision.

"Students initiated this process and it is appropriate that GGC's inaugural student body have the honor to choose the college's mascot," Kaufman said in the news release. "The student body at this new institution impresses me more than any group of young adults with whom I have ever interacted."

Georgia Gwinnett College, the state's newest college, opened in Lawrenceville in 2006. The school welcomed its first freshmen in August.

The newly minted Student Government Association initiated the mascot search in January, inviting community members to send in ideas. About 700 submissions were received, and SGA members selected the five finalists.

SGA President Billy Johnson said he is pleased with the two final mascot choices.

"I think they're the best representation of what it means to be a GGC student," Johnson said. "They both show great strength and great pride, and they're a good representation of what it means to be a GGC student now and in the future."

Johnson said he thinks Kaufman's decision is an example of the administration's commitment to putting students first.

"He understands how important it (the mascot) is to the students," Johnson said.

The results of the run-off election are scheduled to be released March 6.