The Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) Board of Trustees will consider adopting the “Hawk Owl” as the official nickname of the college at its regular meeting tonight.
According to the Public Relations and Marketing department, NMC has not used an official nickname since the school discontinued intercollegiate athletics in 1976. In an effort to reclaim this missing piece of identity, the department was charged with soliciting suggestions for a new nickname.
Polls of students and staff were conducted at the 2012 PinePalooza event on campus, through the college’s Intercom e-newsletter to employees, as well as via the online NMC Student News and on the college's Facebook account. Dozens of potential suggestions were narrowed down to four.
Andy Dolan, executive director of public relations and marketing, laid out the results in a Feb. 15 memo to NMC President Tim Nelson:
(36 percent) Hawk Owl - Once common to the area, the rare owl still irrupts southward into northern Michigan, especially in the fall. It resembles a hawk in appearance and behavior.
(24 percent) Black Squirrel - A name long thought favored by NMC students, black squirrels are unique to our area and have a visible presence on the campuses.
(23 percent) Bison - A nod to the symbol of NMC’s annual Barbecue.
(17 percent) Pine Marten - The Pine (or American) Marten is a weasel about the size of a mink. Its candidacy was particularly supported by those who wanted a cute, child-friendly symbol of the college.
Dolan points out that the Hawk Owl is “a fitting nickname with nods to both the college’s original nickname, Tomahawks, and to owls being a symbol of wisdom.” Hawk Owls, which hunt during the day, can detect prey by sight at a distance of up to half a mile, but can also find prey buried under as much as a foot of snow.
If the nickname is adopted, a logo will be created and the process of creating a mascot will begin, he added.
The meeting will be held at the NMC Oleson Center at 6:30. For the full agenda, click here.