The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Macalester’s 150th anniversary calls for a battle of the mascots

Graphic by Zander Leong ’26.

 Say your farewells to Mac the Scot. In a Jan. 10 email sent to students, faculty and staff, President Suzanne Rivera announced that, in honor of the college’s 150th anniversary, Macalester will be introducing a new mascot. Talk has been rumbling around campus ever since. 

Throughout Macalester’s history, we’ve had a variety of animals as the mascot, including ducks, dogs and pigs. One of the most notable was Macalester’s first mascot, MacQuack. There are many stories about the infamous MacQuack, but according to Jeanne Kilde’s book “Nature and Revelation: A History of Macalester College”, MacQuack was a live duck and a gift from Staples High School students back in November 1937. Its fate has been lost to time, but Kilde notes that “the duck did not adjust well to college life.”

According to Macalester’s website, none of the past mascots have been created with full community engagement. Especially since Macalester is celebrating its 150th anniversary, many believe that it’s a good time to create a “visual symbol of the Macalester spirit.”

To create its new mascot, Macalester has formed an advisory committee with a variety of community members. Under co-chairs Director of Athletics Donnie Brooks and Director of Creative Services Julie Hogan, the committee involves both students and faculty in order to pull from a variety of perspectives.

On Jan. 30, the advisory committee hosted a focus group event open to all Macalester students, creating an opportunity for them to discuss ideas for the new mascot. Early on, the group agreed that the mascot should be fierce but also endearing. The students also established that the mascot must be versatile, it shouldn’t just represent athletics, but the entire Macalester community.

With these considerations in mind, the group began to discuss specific mascot options.

“My vision is that we turn Shaw Field into a pasture for a possible future mascot Highland cow,” Grant Schoonover ’27 said.

The group liked the idea of a Highland cow, which would preserve Macalester’s Scottish heritage. Felicia Winfrey ’25 also commented that the Highland cow’s social nature reminds her of the Macalester community.

 The next mascot brought to the table was the Loch Ness Monster, a famous creature from Scottish folklore. The students appreciated the fact that the Loch Ness Monster is distinctly Scottish, and the term “Nessie” already has a decent presence on campus. 

However, Finn Veerkamp ’25 raised several concerns, noting that the Loch Ness Monster “doesn’t roll off the tongue” and that it might be difficult to create a costume for such a creature.

The group also devoted much of the discussion to the unicorn. Veerkamp was one of the first people to weigh in. “I like unicorns, I’m gonna be honest,” Veerkamp said. “It’s the national animal of Scotland, so it still retains that Scottish connection. They can be fearsome [with] the big horn on their head.”

Other students did not share this enthusiasm. “The thing about unicorns is I feel like people do not know it is the national animal of Scotland, and that will be something that is always added when we say unicorns,” Winfrey said.

In a separate interview, MCSG President Mariah Loeffler-Kemp ’24, who also serves as a member of the advisory committee, voiced her support for the unicorn.

“Unicorns are awesome and queer-coded and beautiful and feminine, and most mascots are really masculinized, and so it’d be awesome to have a more feminine representation of our student body,” Loeffler-Kemp said. “Another fun fact about them is that they can eat lions … and what school in the MIAC has a mascot that’s a lion? St. Olaf. Who’s our biggest competitor? St. Olaf.”

Among the other options discussed were MacQuack, a Scottish Terrier, Kelpie — a horse-like creature from Scottish folklore — and an axolotl.

Working with Macalester’s mascot committee is Skye Dillon, and this isn’t Dillon’s first time working with mascots. Since its conception, his company Skye Design Studios has worked with big names like the MLB and the NFL.

“Before we even put pencil to paper, we always begin by spending time with the client,” Dillon said. “Spending time on campus, getting to know the folks of different backgrounds, … just immersing ourselves … and really trying to get a sense of what makes [Macalester] distinct is step number one.”

The student surveys, focus groups and Dillon’s interactions with students and faculty on campus have all been integral in the ‘discover’ phase of the mascot creation process. Dillon said that the process is moving into its ‘define’ phase.

“We’ll probably do monthly surveys to start,” Dillon said. “Right now, this week, we’re going through all that information … At least 100 different ideas were suggested, so now it’s our job to take those submissions and narrow it down to four to six.”

Once those submissions are narrowed down, Dillon said that students can expect a new survey with each of the options accompanied by brief descriptions and potential imagery. This survey is tentatively set to release next week.

Overall, Dillon wants to make it clear to the student body that this process is driven by student and faculty voices.

“First and foremost we’re here to be teammates, we’re here to come alongside you,” Dillon said. “Nobody knows Macalester‘s brand better than all of you … I’m grateful to all of you to welcome both myself and our team, onto your team, for the extent of this project. And we’ll do everything we can to really make sure that the collective voice is reflected in the final result.”


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  • R

    Rebecca Gentry (Class of 2023)Feb 9, 2024 at 12:10 pm

    Alumni are also involved in this process! Macalester sent a survey out to alumni about suggestions for a new mascot. I am SO excited about this because I’ve been wanting a better mascot since I arrived at Mac in 2019.

    For what it’s worth, I wrote a lengthy and passionate survey response in favor of “the Scotties,” i.e. the Scottish Terrier. There are many reasons I could cite here, but my favorite is that we could potentially have a real, living Scottie dog to appear at special events and interact with students. I encourage other members of the Mac community to rally around “the Scotties!”

    • J

      Joel Stegner ‘71Feb 11, 2024 at 1:17 pm

      The best leaders provide gentle guidance and keep their “flock” safe from harm. As a Macalester alumni and parent of a Mac grad, I think Macalester aspires to foster this kind of leadership focused on service and balancing everyone’s needs wherever our grads live and work. As there are many breeds of Scottish sheep dogs. we wouldn’t have to be limited to just one could feature multiple mascots reflecting our diversity.