DURANT, Okla. — Southeastern Oklahoma State University officials gathered with students and community members Thursday afternoon to introduce its new mascot, the bison. The introduction was made during a pep rally style event held in the packed atrium of the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.
“We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve selected a new mascot for the University,” said Dr. Larry Minks, president of Southeastern. “Our mascot will become demonstrative of the pride, resilience and strength we believe personifies Southeastern and the Savage Storm. People will have the opportunity to not only see the mascot at athletic events, but at many other events within the University, community and Durant area.”
The reveal included the unveiling of the official university mascot imagery and logo, a preview of the bison as a life-size cutout, videos, and remarks by President Minks, Student Government Association president Joseph Baden, Savage Storm football player Coby Ragsdale, Alumni Association president Rob Piearcy, Director of Interactive Marketing/ Director of External Athletic Operations Luke Willman, and alumnus-Savage Storm public address announcer Mark Webb.
Participants will have two weeks to submit a name they feel best represents Southeastern and its bison. Suggestions will be accepted online here:
The top names will be disclosed prior to homecoming in order for students, faculty, alumni and community members to submit their final vote on the mascot name. The winning name will be announced during homecoming festivities October 4th and 5th.
“Not only do we want the university involved, we want our university community involved as well,” said Willman. “The new mascot has a unique role to create a strong visual identity for Southeastern, to unify our university spirit and to create a sense of belonging for the entire Durant community.”
During the reveal, Southeastern also paid tribute to prior names and mascots by highlighting the invaluable roles they each played in shaping the university’s history and traditions with a mascot evolution tribute video.
In 1921, the ‘Savage’ became the official mascot for Southeastern in honor of the area’s native people. By 2006, the nickname became the ‘Savage Storm’ to comply with a new NCAA policy.
With more than 90 years of history behind the name ‘Savage Storm’, the university has no desire to change its name, but to preserve its tradition through a revamped visual identity. In order to determine what best represented the ‘Savage Storm,’ a mascot committee was developed.
The committee was comprised of students, student-athletes, faculty, staff, administration, athletic department personnel, alumni and community representatives. The committee met several times to provide feedback and insight on the new mascot via focus groups and informal interviews — their input was in regards to the mascot type, personality, attributes and overall identity.