GGC mascot unveiled

LAWRENCEVILLE - Georgia Gwinnett College's student-selected mascot made its initial appearance Saturday during the first annual Rock 'n' Rib Fest in downtown Lawrenceville.

Now students of the state's newest four-year institution will head to the online polls to decide what to name the Grizzly.

GGC President Daniel Kaufman said the mascot will help generate spirit for the college as the school works to build a culture.

"From a symbolic, even historical standpoint, the Grizzly represents the melding of primal strength with reverent wisdom," Kaufman said previously. "Our mascot embodies that great animal - that gentle giant - and it will represent Georgia Gwinnett's ultimate goal to make strong leaders out of its dedicated students."

Kaufman said he appreciated the city of Lawrenceville's collaboration with the college, as the festival celebrated Georgia Gwinnett.

City Councilman P.K. Martin said Lawrenceville wants to connect with the students.

"We wanted to make a point to reach out so the kids of the college would feel like this is their town," he said.

Stephen Haney, GGC's Student Government Association president, said he was surprised, but pleased, by the number of people who showed up at the festival. A few thousand people packed the Lawrenceville square to listen to classic rock and eat barbecued ribs.

"It's so fantastic to see how much the city of Lawrenceville came out to support its new college," Haney said.

In addition to celebrating the new college, the festival was designed to promote Gwinnett's county seat as a destination for locals and visitors, said Jay Markwalter, the executive director of the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association.

"We want to showcase what this town has to offer - the attractions and the history," Markwalter said. "We want Lawrenceville to be a destination of your own individual itineraries."

Lawrenceville resident Abby Dixon said it was great to see all of the families enjoying small-town Americana.

"I heard about the great food and music and wanted to come spend a beautiful afternoon in downtown Lawrenceville," Dixon said.

The event was sponsored by the city of Lawrenceville and radio station 97.1 The River.