By: Samantha Cooper
The votes were counted, and Goucher College officially released the name and design of its new mascot—Rowdy the Gopher in a video released by the Goucher Athletic Department on March 30. This came the day after the school announced the retirement of the former mascot Mortimer.
Rowdy’s design is a huge change from Mortimer, the former mascot of Goucher. Instead of appearing a bipedal, brown gopher who is decked out in Goucher sportswear, Rowdy is blue, gray and yellow and much more humanoid in appearance than their predecessor.
Rowdy is very visibly muscular, a fact that many current and former Goucher students noticed and pointed out on Facebook. The new mascot has more use of their hands than the previous one. Rowdy also does not always wear clothing, and instead a “G” emblazoned on their chest.
Both the design and name were picked out by polls sent to Goucher students, faculty and alumnae/i. For the design, the choice came down to two options designed by BAM! Mascot Design, a company based in Canada. The naming came down to four options: Rowdy, Diggity, Decker and Dulaney.
Rowdy won the polls with 1753 votes, Diggity received 1529 votes, Decker won 563 votes and Dulaney only had 263 votes. However, many people voted more than once, and thus when the votes were recounted to only include “unique votes,” (single votes from unique IP addresses) the order of the number of votes received was the same: Rowdy received 1092 unique votes, Diggity had 898 unique votes, Decker had 276 unique votes and Dulaney had 250. Rumors had spread that school had rigged the election or had decided on the name before sending out the survey but there is no conclusive proof that either of these are true.
Director of Athletics Geoffrey Miller said the most important factor in selecting the new name for the mascot was that it was gender neutral. In a letter to Goucher alumnae/i, Miller explained the reason for this decision “…We felt that selecting a gender neutral name was also the right direction for Goucher Athletics and reflects the values of Goucher College.” In an interview, he expanded on this. He said, “We don’t want one gender to be favored in terms of the other in terms of the mascot. The mascot is for everyone at the school…We didn’t want to a affix a name that was so obviously one gender.” He cited Goucher’s trans community as part of the reason for the decision.
The old name Mortimer, he noted, was also never official. The name had been given to the gopher by Goucher students in 1991 and had stuck ever since.
Earlier this year, Goucher College worked with Skye Design Studios to create a new logo which included a spiky blue and yellow gopher. Since the mascot and logo did not match, the Athletic Department and other faculty decided to re-design the mascot as well. The idea to re-name the gopher followed a similar thought process.
(Photo Credit: Goucher Athletic Department)
(Correction: This article previously stated that Rowdy does not wear clothing. After more photos were posted, it became obvious that Rowdy does wear clothing on occasion. The article has been corrected to reflect this.)
(Correction: This article misstated the date of Mortimer’s naming. The original article said it was 1987. The actual date is 1991. The article has been changed to reflect this.)