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President's Blog

President Garcia with UTB students announcing the UTB's new mascot.

UT Brownsville Mascot Announcement

Last year, as we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of UT Brownsville, we also began the work of launching UTB 2.0 – an innovative new university for the 21st Century. During this time it has been especially important to stay close to each other, and so I have had frequent meetings with faculty, staff and students often with the agenda of simply checking in to see how things are going in our respective areas.

It was during such a meeting with student leaders that one young man said to me, “Students rarely have the chance to make decisions that impact the history of a university, could you allow the students to choose the new mascot for UTB?” I replied that we could and we should.

I was very proud of the enthusiasm and thoughtfulness that was given to the mascot selection process: the 400 nominations for mascots; the debates, Facebook and YouTube campaigns; and the 3,500 student votes that were finally cast for the five finalists.

The crowd that gathered at the mascot unveiling on August 31st was spectacular. The UTB spirit was palpable as we looked out over the sea of burnt orange umbrellas to catch glimpses of the homemade signs promoting mascot favorites in the final hour, the UTB logo painted on fresh faces declaring school spirit and students clustered around the two-story colored banners to show their allegiance to each finalist.

And as Senior Communication Major Normalinda Vera sang out “The Ocelot!” as the final mascot chosen by our students, the ringing university bell, the staccato pounding of the drum line and the showering confetti ensured that we would always remember the year, the day, and the very moment we were all gathered to welcome the Ocelot to UT Brownsville.

Submitted Sept. 21, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.

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