Texas Woman's University has its first-ever mascot: A white and maroon owl with its wings spread, holding a Pioneers banner in its talons.
The mascot, a new logo and slogan were all unveiled Monday during the university's fall assembly for faculty and staff, who 'ooo'-ed and 'ahh'-ed and clapped at the branding overhaul.
With a new look, TWU officials hope to unify different campuses, departments and initiatives and communicate the school's mission, said Carine Feyten, president and chancellor of the university.
"Articulating an identity is complex. People know who you are by how you act, but sometimes you need to translate this identity into words," Feyten said. "This rallies our brand and it reinforces it with a new visual identity."
The new logo was inspired by the fountain outside of Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus, and forms the letters T and W. This is a symbol of the school starting to call itself Texas Woman's instead of TWU colloquially, said Cindy Pollard, associate vice president of marketing and communication.
"After all, there are other TWU’s, but there is only one Texas Woman’s," Pollard said to applause from faculty and staff members in Margo Jones Performance Hall.
The story behind the owl is also inspired by symbolism on campus, Pollard said. The statue of a pioneer woman on the southwest side of campus is fondly called Minerva by students, after the Roman goddess of wisdom and warfare. In mythology, her companion animal is an owl.
Chalese Connors, director of athletics, said the announcement is particularly special for student athletes at TWU who have never had a mascot.
"The students love the owl; she’s fierce and wise," Connors said of student reaction Monday. "They love the sleek design and thought it’s about time we had a mascot."
The athletics department and university will spend the next year rolling out the new identities, ranging from getting new business cards for professors with the new logo to all new gear for the athletic teams. This fall, the basketball team will be the first to have the owl on its uniforms.
The school also revealed its new slogan — "Boldly Go" — as part of the unveil Monday. The phrase pays homage to the school's strong past and desire to keep educating and empowering future generations of students.
Work on the rebranding took about a year and was spearheaded by Commerce House, an advertising agency in Dallas, for $75,000, said Amanda Simpson, a spokeswoman for the university. The last time the university renovated its logo was in 2002.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889.
FEATURED PHOTO: The first-ever mascot for Texas Woman's University is an owl, to symbolize the mythical companion of "Minerva," the pioneer woman statue on the Denton campus.