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Nighthawks picked as new University of North Georgia mascot
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What they’re saying

Folks chiming in on Facebook had this to say about the new mascot:

Jason Friend: As an alumnus of both GSC and NGCSU, I’m excited about this new mascot! Great opportunity for the new school to forge its new identity.

Angie Wilkerson Roach: Better than golden eagle

Todd M. West: Not tough enough for me. I mean, nighthawks just fly around eating insects. Why couldn’t copperheads be the mascot? Copperheads are tough North Georgia animals.

Camille Nix Walker: Ridiculous

Angela Martin: I LOVE IT!! As a STUDENT I’m stoked!! Nighthawks are not only awesome creatures but NOBODY else has this mascot anywhere near us! Yay!

It’s official: Nighthawks will be the mascot of the new University of North Georgia.

The school will form in January from the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College.

“The focus of our consolidation continues to be about bringing two strong institutions together as one university that will serve our students across four campuses and a large geographic area that covers the fastest-growing region of the state,” North Georgia President Bonita Jacobs said. “By selecting a new mascot to promote athletics and school spirit, we are taking an important step to building community as the University of North Georgia.”

The current mascots for the schools are the Saints at North Georgia and the Fighting Geese at Gainesville State. Students were asked to choose one of three options for their new mascot: Golden Eagles, Nighthawks or Warriors. The finalists were determined through a process that began in August and generated more than 750 suggestions from students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members.

Information about each of the options was provided in the survey and on the consolidation website. More than 6,300 students, approximately 42 percent of the combined student body, participated in the survey. With 51 percent of the responses, Nighthawks was the clear selection by the students. The responses to the two other choices were split nearly evenly, with Golden Eagles receiving 26 percent of the vote and Warriors receiving 23 percent.

“I am very pleased that such a large number of students from each institution participated in the selection process. Their response clearly demonstrates their interest in selecting the new mascot,” Jacobs said.

A nighthawk is a bird indigenous to the North Georgia region that hunts typically at dusk and dawn. It has pointed wings and intricately marked feathers that make it difficult to see when roosting. Nighthawks have a wingspan of about two feet. Nighthawk males are able to make a unique, deep booming sound with their wings. Nighthawks migrate annually, sometimes at distances of up to nearly 7,000 miles.

North Georgia Athletic Director Lindsay Reeves said she is looking forward to involving a larger student body in the university’s athletic program and feels the selection of Nighthawks has attributes associated with competitive athletics, according to a news release from the university.

“Based on our research in this process, nighthawks are agile and quick, they camouflage themselves when not flying and their long-distance migrations point to endurance and perseverance,” Reeves said.

A visual representation of the mascot is expected to be unveiled in January, when the consolidation of the two institutions receives final authorization by the Board of Regents.