by NICK BUCHANAN
What do Mark Twain, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Dr. Suess, Hannah Montana, and Tiffin University’s dragon mascot all have in common? Besides the fact that they’re clearly all among the greatest American icons, they’ve all been subject to a name upgrade.
Formerly known as Stuey, our dragon mascot received a name change this semester after Lonny Allen, Tiffin University’s athletic director, inspired the Student Athletic Advisory Council.
“Lonny Allen came to us with the challenge to brainstorm new names for the mascot. The previous executive board [of SAAC] had students make suggestions. We came up with a few, but as you know, spring is a crazy busy time for everyone on campus, so I think the re-naming of our mascot was pushed forward to this year so we could have everyone's input and make it a priority in the fall with it being the start of a new year,” said Taylor Hayes, the president of SAAC.
In a campus-wide electronic voting system, the student body chose SAAC’s name suggestion, Blaze, to represent our faithful dragon. Blaze prevailed in the poll against multiple solid alternatives, including Dave, Gilly, Herbie, Durango, Spit-Phyre, and Harambe.
“We feel absolutely honored to have the suggestion we made be chosen by our peers as the new name,” Hayes said. “Mascots are usually associated with athletics, so I thought it was fitting that the organization that represents the voice of the student athletes was heard. We appreciate the support!”
The name Blaze lends itself to our fire-breathing mascot for obvious reasons, but Hayes believes there is something deeper behind the face value.
“I also think behind the name, you could say it embodies the spirit of our campus. Across the board from athletics to the arts to academics, students to professors, we all have a fiery passion in what we do, and I think Blaze conveys that well,” Hayes said.
SAAC can’t take the credit as a group, though. There was one member of the group who was the first to think of the name that should last our mascot through the foreseeable future.
“I would like to give women's soccer goalie Samantha Ortenzi a huge shout-out for the initial suggestion,” Hayes said. “As a group we really liked the name so we decided to back her 100 percent and put it up for nomination. The feedback was great and we really appreciate everyone for the positive support and voting. Go Dragons!”