Whitman Announces New Mascot

Marra Clay, Publisher

The Blues will officially become Whitman College’s new mascot.

On Thursday, November 3rd, President Kathy Murray emailed the announcement to the Whitman Community. She wrote “After looking at all the responses from alumni, students, faculty and staff to the most recent survey, it became clear right away that the Whitman Community feels the Blues is the mascot that best represents Whitman.”

The Blue Mountains east of Walla Walla. Photo by Marra Clay
The Blue Mountains east of Walla Walla. Photo by Marra Clay

According to the email, the Blues received 35% of first choice votes, and 58% of voters listed it as their first or second choice. While the complete results of the survey have not yet been released, Murray’s email states that the Blues was ahead of any of the other mascot options by more than two-thousand points.

The final four options– the Appaloosas, the Sockeyes, the Blue Ravens, and the Blues– were announced on October 17th for a community vote that lasted until October 31st.

In the initial vote, the Blues were described as “expansive,” “bold,” and “multi-layered,” and the survey said that the Blues, as Whitman’s local mountain range, “represent a formidable change and a sense of accomplishment.”

Murray’s most recent email also classified the Blues as a long-time “important symbol for Whitman and the surrounding community.”

The decision to change Whitman’s mascot was fairly contested among some students, staff, alumni, and others. Following a survey that was sent to 18,000 individuals, the College decided to move forward with changing the mascot last April and received some backlash from the Whitman community. Murray addressed the controversy in her most recent email.

“I know that the decision to change the mascot was not popular with everyone.  Choosing a single mascot to represent such a diverse and vibrant community is no easy task, and we acknowledge the limitations inherent to any mascot,” Murray wrote. “No mascot can ever fully represent the complexity and richness of our community. Mascots, by their very nature, oversimplify who we are, what we stand for and what it means to be a Whittie.”

According to Murray, Whitman’s Communications Department will work to develop a logo to visually display the Blues and it should be completed by the fall of 2017.

“In the end, the mascot is not the defining element of Whitman College,” Murray wrote. “Instead, it is our shared commitment to the educational mission of Whitman – that of providing a rigorous, residential education in the liberal arts – that truly defines us.”