LAWRENCEVILLE - Go Grizzlies!
The mascot of the state's newest four-year college was unveiled Thursday as Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel Kaufman took the cover off a sheet cake decorated with the word "Grizzlies."
The ceremony ended a two-month process that began when the college solicited mascot ideas from the community. The Student Government Association narrowed about 700 submissions to five finalists: the Centurions, the Generals, the Green Knights, the Grizzlies and the Patriots. Students voted for their favorites, and Kaufman decided to let the students vote again in a run-off between the top two vote-getters: the Generals and the Grizzlies.
A few cheers erupted from the crowd of about 200 onlookers when the mascot was revealed.
"I love it because I voted for it," said Jasmine Butler, a college junior. "I thought it was different."
College freshman Nicole George agreed, saying the new mascot would set her school apart.
"GGC Grizzlies has a ring to it," she said. "We're going to be fierce."
Kaufman said the mascot selection process was an important one that was rightfully decided by the students.
"When you start a college from scratch, you have to build a sense of culture and belonging by the students," he said.
Kaufman said he thinks the Grizzlies will represent the college well because they are brave, strong, smart and resourceful.
"Grizzlies are not native to Georgia, but neither are we," he said. "They live in the frontier, and we're pioneers in higher education."
SGA President Billy Johnson said he is happy with the result of the mascot selection process. He said he does not know of any other college that has allowed the students to pick its mascot.
Michael Gagnon, an assistant professor of history who was at the unveiling ceremony, said he thinks the fact that the students picked the mascot reflects that Georgia Gwinnett College is a student-driven campus.
"We're working with the students to help them do what they want to do," he said. "They get to identify who they are and who we are."
Gagnon said the students get excited about participating in events, especially when they realize it will have a lasting effect on the school. The mascot, for example, will still be around 100 years from now, he said.
"When you put it to them that way, they get fired up," Gagnon said. "It's phenomenal to be on the ground floor at the beginning of a college."