Nigel the Nighthawk is ready for his close up. Almost.
In an email to students on Wednesday, July 23, the University of North Georgia's Office of Student Affairs announced the university's students had chosen the name "Nigel" for the Nighthawk mascot, but he won't make his debut until August.
Nigel was selected overwhelmingly by UNG students this past spring, edging out other names by a 2 to 1 margin in a process led by the university's Student Government Associations. During the process, students first suggested names and the top contenders were sent out again for a student vote.
A similar process was used to select the Nighthawk as the university's new mascot prior to the January 2013 consolidation that created UNG, but suggestions were taken from students, alumni, faculty, and staff. As with the name, however, students also cast the final votes to select Nighthawk.
Nigel, the Nighthawk's biggest fan and new mascot, will be making his debut at student events planned at each UNG campus in August as part of the university's Weeks of Welcome:
- Dahlonega: Monday, Aug. 18, 9:30 a.m. Gather at the Grove for Convocation
- Gainesville: Monday, Aug. 18, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nighthawks Unite Welcome Back Picnic in front of the Student Center
- Cumming: Wednesday, Aug. 27, noon. Pizza with the President, lobby
- Oconee: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m. Nighthawks UNight, Quad
UNG worked with Rickabaugh Graphics, one of the nation's top graphic design companies, to create the Nighthawks brand. Focus groups working to identify ideal traits of the brand decided the style of the Nighthawks image should be serious, and that it should reflect an "old-school" design. The Nighthawk also represents key descriptors that the focus group participants used for the Nighthawks: proud, determined, respected, tough, aggressive, dignified, and relentless.
The firm Street Characters, which has produced mascots for such notable professional sports franchises as the National Football League's Denver Broncos and Major League Baseball's Detroit Tigers, developed the mascot character that will be unveiled in August.