While Bradley will remain the Braves, the search for a university mascot will continue.
Director of Athletics Michael Cross said he and his committee will now explore the top three mascot options collected from focus groups and a community wide survey – a lion, an eagle and a gargoyle.
“Changing the Bradley nickname to Brave didn’t resonate with the community,” Cross said. “But there was strong interest in a mascot.”
In order to determine a suitable mascot for Bradley, Cross said they will reach out to an external consultant group to continue the process. Cross said they will turn to professionals for expert advice and sketches of possible mascots.
Last month the Bradley Athletics Department distributed a survey to the Bradley Community regarding changing the Bradley nickname from “Braves” to “Brave” and the possibility of bringing a mascot to campus.
The survey, which was closed Oct. 18, was completed by more than 4,100 people within the community. Approximately 60 percent were alumni, 30 percent were students and 10 percent were community and Bradley athletic supporters.
The results of the survey showed that while respondents would like to keep the current Bradley nickname of Braves, they are supportive of pursuing a Bradley mascot. In fact, Cross said when given the choice between a lion, eagle or gargoyle as a Bradley mascot, the majority of survey respondents chose the gargoyle.
“The gargoyle got more response than any other mascot,” he said. “But the success or failure of the mascot depends on what the art looks like and whether it can be something that Bradley can resonate with.”
Even though the majority of respondents selected the gargoyle as their top choice, freshman nursing major Lupe Flores said she couldn’t relate to any of the options offered in the survey.
“They’re so plain,” she said. “They just wouldn’t fit with Bradley.”
Acting upon suggestions from an outside consult and focus groups, Associate Vice President of Management Susan Andrews said they decided to distribute a survey regarding a nickname and mascot change in order to test the pulse and opinions of the community.
“I think we should have a mascot,” said freshman pre-business major Jeanette Sieminski. “Most schools have one and it would be cool at the games. Plus we would have a symbol on all of our [Bradley] clothing.”
Cross said there are many advantages that would come with bringing a mascot to campus, including that it would be great for school spirit and marketing and would fill a void of tradition that the university has struggled with for decades.
The idea to adopt a mascot is not a new one. In 2006-2007 there was a failed campaign in search of a mascot that included options such as clocks and firefighters. Before that, from 1993 to 2000, Bradley kept the nickname Braves, while adopting a Bobcat mascot. That mascot was eliminated because administrators ruled students lacked affinity for it. Prior to the Bobcat, Bradley had an Indian mascot up until 1988.
In 2010, Kyle Malinowksi during his position as student body president, called for university President Joanne Glasser to act upon requests for university mascot. Glasser and the president’s cabinet responded to the resolution and stated that at the time, the university would not be pursuing a mascot.
Now as a Bradley graduate student, Malinowksi said he is excited the athletics department is pursuing a mascot.
“I am very happy that they decided to keep the name of Braves since we fought for the name for so long,” he said. “But I’m very excited about the search for a mascot. I think the university and athletics department will have a challenge to rebrand Braves as one of the three mascots, but they can do it.”