January 28, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 31°F


College announces first mascot finalist

In its search for the next Bomber mascot, the Ithaca College Mascot Selection Task Force announced the phoenix as the first of three finalists today.

According to the mascot search website, the phoenix, a mythical bird, represents the pride associated with the college and references the City of Ithaca’s Greek origins. The City of Ithaca was named after the Greek island of Ithaki in 1804, according to the City of Ithaca’s official website.

The remaining two finalists will be revealed in the next two days. The finalists will be revealed around 11 a.m. in a video on the task force’s website.

The college announced a search for a new mascot on Nov. 19 to correspond with its branding initiative, according to the task force’s website. Between Nov. 30 and Jan. 12, the task force received mascot suggestions from students, faculty, staff and alumni. Later in January, the task force voted for three finalists from more than 250 submissions, and it has since been working with an outside rendering firm to develop visual representations of the finalists.

Mike Tannenbaum ’09, Michael Ferris, system administrator in infrastructure and communication services, and Todd Blakemore, database and application administrator in enterprise application services, and sophomore Emilio Martinez Zurita De La Garza, all separately submitted the idea of a phoenix.

Ferris said he never planned to submit an idea to the contest, but when he saw a phoenix mentioned in a book about four months ago, he and Blakemore decided to enter the search. Ferris said they developed a concept to submit to the competition.

“It’s not like we brainstormed anything,” he said. “It was just kind of a chance to pick it, really. It was almost like throwing darts at a dart board.”

Martinez Zurita De La Garza said he wanted to enter the contest from the start, and he derived the phoenix from the Task Force’s mascot guidelines, which require that the proposed mascot can be translated into a costume, identifiable with Bombers, fit the college’s blue and gold colors, gender-neutral and not war-related. However, he said he’s not happy with the rendering that was developed by the outside firm.

“I really think that it should be adapted more to what Ithaca College actually is,” he said. “Right now, it looks too standard.”

As it’s currently constructed, the mythical firebird flies under an Ithaca College Bombers banner, carrying what appears to be an athletic ball. According to the Task Force’s website, the phoenix is intended to represent the determination of the campus community, providing a bright light to reflect the college’s future.

Martinez De La Garza said one of the strengths of the phoenix is that it can be altered to fit a number of environments. He said the current logo pictures the phoenix as a proud creature that could be used to market athletics, but he added that the bird’s beauty, which could be used to connect to arts events at the college, is not portrayed.

On Thursday, the task force will send out surveys to current and prospective students, faculty, staff and alumni for feedback on the three finalists and their draft logos, according to the Task Force’s website. The task force will review the suggestions in May, which could affect the final design of the logo. In the summer, the task force will make the final selection, and a costume will start to be developed.

Mike Lindberg, associate director of intercollegiate athletics and one of four task force co-chairs, said the new mascot, when it’s revealed in the fall, will provide the campus with a sense of identification, on the field and in the classroom.

“We’re looking [for] a mascot that would perhaps serve as that symbol for success, that symbol for excellence that we talk about so much here in this community,” he said.