Unifying Purdue Northwest campuses select future nickname and mascot

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DARIEN THOMPSON, 10, holds the ball as the No. 14 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team overcame a slow shooting start with a strong second half to top host Indiana South Bend, 61-54, in a road league contest on December 2.

Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central announced recently the nickname and athletics mascot for the emerging Purdue University Northwest (PNW).

Purdue Northwest athletic teams will be known as the Pride. The mascot will be a bold image of a lion.

Pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits Purdue North Central and Purdue Calumet, Purdue University Northwest will be established through the unification of both existing campuses prior to the start of the 2016-17 academic year. Following unification, the athletic programs of Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central will consolidate into one PNW program of 13 teams effective fall 2016.

Pending Higher Learning Commission review processes, the lion mascot image is expected to be unveiled during events on both campuses to present the new mascot to students, faculty, staff and the greater community sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

“We are excited that as our two great campuses come together into Purdue Northwest, our teams will compete as the PNW Pride,” said Rick Costello, director of Athletics for the emerging Purdue Northwest and current director of Athletics for Purdue Calumet. “This name reflects everything people affiliated with our campuses told us Purdue Northwest means to them: strength, respect, toughness, determination.

“I think these are characteristics not just of our teams, but of our student body and the Northwest Indiana region,” Costello stated. “Furthermore, our students and student-athletes said they wanted a unique mascot that is dignified, empowered and, last but certainly not least, conveys a winning image.”

Tom Albano, associate athletics director of Compliance for PNW and current athletics director of Purdue North Central, added, “Once we are officially PNW, we will have a special celebration to share the lion mascot with everyone on both campuses and in the community at large. We know our students, coaches and many others are eager to see and wear the Pride logo, but we need to respect the unification application review pro-

cess.

We appreciate the valuable input of the many people who engaged in the development of the Pride nickname and the future mascot. We look forward to creating a genuine sense of PNW spirit.”

Through an extensive process that began in February 2015, thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members from the Calumet and North Central campuses participated in the nickname selection. A task force comprised largely of students guided the process, which included a widely distributed survey to which nearly 3,000 people responded.

The lion mascot emerged through extensive brand research that included discussions and focus groups with hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

As a university of unified North Central and Calumet campuses, Purdue Northwest would become an institution of some 15,000 students, fifth largest in Indiana. The evolving Purdue Northwest also is intended to provide enhanced opportunities for students in programs of study, a wider variety of shared online courses and more options for community engagement and professional development.

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