April 02, 2016
Susquehanna University has selected River Hawks as its new nickname and mascot. The name was announced at noon today during an on-campus event. The selection was made via a vote by 4,861—or 35 percent—of the university's alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends for whom the university has email addresses and who had not opted out of the vote. Susquehanna River Hawks was chosen from among three options, receiving 67.4 percent of the vote.
Of the 1,828 nicknames suggested last fall, 170 were either River Hawks or some variation, the university reported.
River Hawks are Ospreys, large hawks that feed on fish. Global birds, they tolerate a wide variety of habitats and are found on all continents except Antarctica. In 1982, the River Hawk was declared "extirpated," or no longer existing in Pennsylvania. There are currently 150 active nests in the state, with clusters along the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers and the upper Ohio River and Beaver River drainages.
Design work tied to the new nickname and mascot has begun and will be unveiled during Homecoming Weekend, Sept. 9-11.
The announcement of a new nickname and mascot culminates a six-month process led by the Nickname/Mascot Special Committee (NMSC), convened by President L. Jay Lemons. Below is the timeline for that effort.
October 2015 - SU Board of Trustees voted to move to a new nickname and mascot.
November 2015 - SU President L. Jay Lemons convened the NMSC and charged the committee with bringing to him no fewer than two—and no more than three—nickname options for consideration.
December 2015 - A call went out to all alumni, students, faculty, staff and students asking them to suggest nicknames. Of the 1,828 names submitted, 400 were unique.
January 2, 2016 - Members of the NMSC evaluated the unique nicknames against a rubric that included 10 evaluation criteria and arrived at five semifinalists.
January 11, 2016 - All alumni, students, faculty, staff and students were asked to rank order the semifinalists. Three finalists emerged and were presented to President Lemons for consideration.
February 29, 2016 - President Lemons presented all three finalists to the Board of Trustees for consideration and the board decided to advance all three for a vote by the Susquehanna community.
March 2016 - The three finalists were put out to a vote by alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends.
April 2 - The outcome of the vote—Susquehanna River Hawks—was announced.