QUINCY, MASS., May 13, 2009 — Eastern Nazarene College has a new mascot: Henceforth, the Christian liberal arts college’s athletics teams will be known as the
The new mascot was introduced to students, faculty and staff last night at an ice cream social held to mark the end of the semester and celebrate seniors’ upcoming commencement.
“We wanted to share the news of our new mascot before our graduating seniors left campus,” College President Corlis McGee said. “The entire ENC community had an opportunity to offer input, and we look forward to rooting for our ENC Lions at sporting events in the future.”
Created by Quincy’s Cyclone Design, the new mascot features a golden lion atop the college name, with the word “LIONS” outlined in red over the college shield. The Lions replaces the college’s previous mascot of the Crusaders – a term whose connotation has changed over the years, ENC officials said.
“When ENC and many other Christian colleges first adopted the Crusader mascot, the term was perceived much more positively,” said McGee, who noted that Illinois’ Wheaton College, Point Loma Nazarene University and other U.S. colleges also have opted to replace their Crusader mascots. “In today’s world, the term often carries a negative connotation, and there was a growing awareness among ENC students, faculty and alumni that the Crusader no longer represented the positive message of Christian love we aim to share with the world.”
Eric Severson, a professor of religion at Eastern Nazarene, concurred. In a statement supporting the mascot change, Severson noted that the sanitized image of the Crusader overlooks a complicated historical record that includes cruelty and barbarism.
“The violent soldier of the crusades,” Severson wrote, “…is simply a poor representative of ENC’s commitment to Christian love.”
ENC Alumnus Dr. Mark H. Mann – a former Crusader basketball player whose grandfather, longtime ENC President Edward S. Mann, selected the Crusader – also supported changing the mascot.
“I thank God that we have decided to make the change,” Mann said. “It fills me with great pride to know that, in disassociating ourselves from the atrocities of the medieval Crusaders, we are better able to communicate the distinctly Christian mission and vision of those who, like my grandfather, sought to build a college that above all glorifies Christ.”
After agreeing that it was time to retire the Crusader, ENC officials established a selection committee, which solicited suggestions and feedback from the campus community and alumni.
“The lion is a symbol of courage and strength,” said McGee, noting that the Bible refers to Jesus as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” “I think the very fact that ENC was willing to explore the mascot issue, and to open a dialogue on the subject, exemplifies the strengths of a Christian liberal arts education.”
About Eastern Nazarene College
Located in Quincy, Mass. on Boston’s historic south shore, Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) is a fully accredited liberal arts college. With approximately 1,200 students distributed across its traditional residential undergraduate program as well as adult studies and graduate programs, ENC is known for its success in getting students into top graduate and medical schools, and has a 100 percent acceptance rate for its students into law school. While many faculty members are active in publishing and research, and several are leaders in their fields, ENC is committed to focusing on the teaching and mentoring of students in a nurturing, spiritually informed and academically supportive environment.