President Joel Pearsall announced Northwest Nazarene University’s new mascot in chapel this morning.
Over the past several years, NNU’s Board of Trustees has discussed and considered the possibility of changing the university’s institutional nickname and mascot. In 2016, the board appointed a task force composed of NNU trustees, alumni (one of whom serves as a missionary), students, representatives of NNU athletics, and faculty members. The task force met several times and delivered a report to the board during spring semester 2017. After further consideration at the fall 2017 meeting, the board voted unanimously to change the university’s nickname and mascot from “Crusaders” to “Nighthawks”.
The Board of Trustees acknowledged that a crusader was historically understood as one who is committed to a worthy cause. However, the board observed that more recently there has been a growing diversity of opinion regarding the mascot and nickname. Students, campus community members, and alumni have expressed concern with the nickname and mascot because of its association with violence and destruction. This led the university in 2006 to retain the nickname of “Crusaders” but stop using the image of a crusader as its mascot and deemphasize the term within the athletic department and around campus.
The board concluded that a nickname and mascot should serve as a name and image around which students and alumni may rally—most often in an athletic context. They sensed that a nickname and mascot should not detract from the achievement of the university’s mission and values. In the context of the current day, the board concluded that the historical nickname and mascot is easily misunderstood and may impede the university’s ability to minister in an increasingly-interconnected global community.
Regarding a new nickname and mascot, the board determined it was wisest to look to the geographical area in which NNU is located and select an animal common to the area but not already used as a mascot and nickname by other schools. Therefore, the board selected the nighthawk.
This change will be immediate, but it will take time for uniforms and merchandise to reflect the new image. The board also requested that references to “Crusaders” be retained on trophies and banners that are part of our campus historical displays.
As we turn this new page in our history, we remain committed to our mission and excited for our future as Nighthawks!
For more information, please contact Associate Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations Mark Cork at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (208) 467-8773. You can also read the frequently asked questions about NNU's new mascot.