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Meet William & Mary's mascot

The nation's second-oldest college chose a mascot Tuesday. Meet the William & Mary Griffin.


The mascot search netted 800 submissions, winnowed to five finalists in December: a griffin, a king and queen, a phoenix, a pug and a wren. The charge was to select a mascot that would unify the campus -- preferably not in opposition. And look good on T-shirts.

The history of William & Mary's mascot is predictably checkered, considering that we are talking here about a college whose athletic identity is the Tribe.

Wikipedia informs us that the college's previous mascot was a green and gold frog called Colonel Ebirt, which is Tribe spelled backwards, although students evidently thought it lame, and not particularly frog-like, and dubbed it the "amorphous green blob." The frog was euthanized in 2005.

The school's previous practice, through the 1980s, was to have two students dress in buckskins, one as "Pocohontas," the other as "tribe guy."

(Wikipedia does not trace the mascot all the way to the school's 1693 founding.)

All of which is to say that the school was in dire need of a new mascot.


The college provided some talking points on its new brand:

William & Mary's Griffin is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. The coat of arms of King William and Queen Mary was adorned with lions, and the lion's body of our mascot evokes our historic royal founding and early history. The eagle's head of the Griffin suggests the national symbol of the United States and represents the presidents, leaders, and productive citizens whom William & Mary has trained for centuries.

The College of William & Mary in Virginia is one of only two U.S. colleges or universities granted a coat of arms by the College of Heralds in London. Our mascot, the Griffin, is often depicted in British heraldry.

The Griffin aptly symbolizes our Tribe athletes. The lion's strength and the eagle's vision suggest the union of strength with intelligence that characterizes more than 500 Tribe athletes, who compete on 23 Division I teams, while simultaneously thriving in a rigorous academic program that has no place to hide.

Throughout history, the Griffin has been known as a guardian of treasure. Our mascot, the Griffin, stands watch over The College of William & Mary -- the alma mater of a nation, cherished by generations of her sons and daughters.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  April 6, 2010; 5:44 PM ET
 | Tags: College of William & Mary, Colonel Ebirt, William & Mary, college william mary mascot, william mary mascot, wm mascot  
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In the late 70's Stanford changed its mascot (from the Indians). One of the suggestions that gathered student votes then was the Griffins (although I think they spelled it Gryphons). The winning name chosen by the students, however, was The Robber Barons. The board of trustees didn't like that so they made the somewhat odd choice of Cardinal - the school color. I'd rather be a Griffin.

Posted by: CAobserver | April 8, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

As a member of the W&M tribe, I am pleased with this selection. Go Griffin!

Posted by: Comrade01 | April 8, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The new year approaching, click in. Let's facelift bar!
====== =====
fr ee sh i pp ing

(jordan shoes) $32

(air max) $34
++++ ++++++++++



▍ ★∴
   ....▍▍....█▍ ☆ ★∵ ..../

Posted by: itkonlyyourr | April 8, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

A griffin is a vulture.

Way to go mascot committee. Took you 18 months to finally screw it up. Total lack of transparency in the end. I understand that the other finalists were even worse (a pug?).

They passed up the Friesian horse for this? That would have been all that this is not.

Guess John Stewart was right...see

How embarassing.

Posted by: wmgrad1 | April 11, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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