Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
If this bird is half as good as the last one, Fort Lewis College will be in good talons.
A new “Skyhawk” and a new logo for FLC athletics were unveiled Thursday at a Power Point pep rally and fashion show in the Student Union.
“It’s an exciting day for Fort Lewis College athletics ... exciting for all of Fort Lewis,” president and head cheerleader Dene K. Thomas said in unveiling the new designs before a spirited crowd.
“This is the first new logo in a decade,” she said, explaining that a committee of college staff and students worked with Daniel Price and his Adrenalin company that specializes in sports branding.
“Athletics play an important role in college,” Thomas said.
Students, she said, need to have links to where they study.
“One of those connections is sports,” the Fort Lewis president said. “Sports unite us. They inspire pride. They push us to become better.”
She said the Skyhawks’ student-athletes are ambassadors for the college.
“For many people out there, the only exposure they will have to Fort Lewis College will be watching an athletic event ... with one of our teams,” she said.
And they’ll be watching Skyhawks with a new-look ’Hawk as the new design is phased into the uniform replacement cycle at FLC.
“I’ve joked with other colleges that ... it’s an environment like never-never land where they come in young every day,” said Price, who led the logo team. He’s been associated with new logo designs for the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets; Adrenalin has worked with scores of colleges and universities.
“A college is an organization where the young people come, and they are bringing the latest trends with them,” Price said.
“It’s really important that you stay with the times in representing your institution,” Price said.
A redesign, he said, often is more challenging that a completely new logo.
“In this case, we didn’t want to change much. We weren’t changing the colors ... and we wanted to match with the school logo,” he said.
Price and the committee took elements of the existing logos and integrated subtle changes.
Most importantly, he said, they wanted to make the Skyhawk and the logo totally unique to FLC.
“Nobody else can take ownership of this,” he said after showing a mountain ridge line across the top of the new Skyhawk. Plus, he said, the initial C in the bird’s eye is the C from the Colorado stage flag.
“And we did a real subtle feather coming off the bottom of the bird’s head,” he said in recognition of the Native American connection to FLC.
“We wanted to put the ’Hawk out front, and we wanted to identify things popular in this region,” he said of the mountain-feather touches.
His company’s research found more than 250 bird mascots in colleges and universities.
“This ... Skyhawk is unique,” Price said.
The bird also will replace the block graphic Skyhawk that was unveiled in 2001 as part of a collegewide rebranding effort. The current college logo was launched then as well.
“We’re very proud of this old bird,” said Fort Lewis assistant athletic director Chris Aaland, who has been involved in six different logo changes at the college.
“We won three national soccer championships and any number of cycling national championships ... with this bird,” Aaland said as he led the group through a history of Fort Lewis logos (and mascots). “That logo served us well.”
Skyler the mascot, born in the last generation of Skyhawks, will serve another term.
Going back in FLC history, first there were the Beavers and the Aggies. When Fort Lewis still was a junior college, the teams were called Beavers from 1929-33. Then the Aggies took over for an extended run from 1933 to 1962. The logo featured a capital A with a cow in the foreground.
Fort Lewis became the Raiders in 1962. There were a number of Raider logos over the years, Aaland said. The classic one featured a circle with a cavalryman extending his sword while charging.
Eventually, the cavalryman was modified to carry a banner instead of a sword. Then, he lost his rifle and pistol from earlier versions. The unarmed Raider finally rode off into the sunset in 1994 when the first Skyhawk appeared.
Initially, there was a logo of a silhouette of a bird against the mountains and a standalone bird silhouette.
By 1997, the first “angry bird” logo made an appearance at FLC. There was a multicolored bird with wings folded, and there was an “FLC” with the C in the shape of talons.
But it was bye-bye angry birdies in 2001 and hello sleek, new Skyhawk – a bird who’s flying south for retirement, giving way to a new generation of birds at FLC.
All logos courtesy of FLC