Nearly a century of suspense will end Monday when Fort Hays State University introduces its first-ever, one-of-a-kind, "official" Tiger mascot.
The new mascot will be unveiled in a brief ceremony that will begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 3, in the Seibel Lobby of FHSU's Sternberg Museum of Natural History. Everyone from the university and the surrounding community is welcome to attend the lively 30-minute event. There will be no admission charge to the Seibel Lobby for the unveiling.
Throughout the history of the university there have been a wide range of mascot images affiliated with FHSU but never one "official" representation of the Tiger mascot. A primary mascot currently used, especially by the Athletic Department, was taken from "clip art." This meant that anyone who had purchased the collection of art could clip that tiger image to use as they saw fit. This led to the decision to change to an image that would be the exclusive property of Fort Hays State and that would quickly become identified as the unique FHSU image.
Mary Ridgway, the FHSU art director, worked for a year with the university's Integrated Marketing Committee to create the original Tiger mascot. Ridgway said, "We found that people were not comfortable with drastic changes. So, rather than develop a completely new mascot the old one evolved."
She added, "Response to the evolved image was significantly more positive than to a complete redesign."
The Integrated Marketing Committee did extensive research, including several focus groups, to gather information that Ridgway could use to develop a unique and appropriate Tiger mascot for Fort Hays State.
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, will cut a ribbon during the ceremony Monday to reveal an 8-foot-square banner containing the new Tiger. Just before the unveiling, a sampling of the old FHSU Tigers will be displayed. Also, the FHSU cheerleaders will help to introduce a new Tiger mascot costume for the occasion.
Everyone is invited to attend the 30-minute unveiling, which is free of charge. During the unveiling, buttons displaying the new mascot will be given away. Also, winners of various "Tiger unveiling" prizes from local radio stations can claim their prizes after the ceremony.
To make sure that the new logo would be available on products immediately after the unveiling, the FHSU Office of University Relations provided the new image in February to all licensed vendors of FHSU merchandise and to some campus departments. Ridgway said, "Everyone has been very supportive of keeping it secret. We haven't had any information leak out."
The image has been trademarked and Ridgway said that it would be registered soon. "That means we will be changing the 'TM' to the letter "R" in a circle (®) when the mascot is registered," she said.