After weeks of voting, followed by a rigorous period of design, Villa Maria College has its new athletics identity, and a new mascot: The Villa Vikings.
Tradition trumped change in the polls, as students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community gave the Vikings 37 percent of the total votes in the final round, beating out Valkyries, Saints, and Vanguards each gaining 20 percent of the votes. The final selection after a final round of voting, was revealed Tuesday in a celebration on campus.
Announced in January alongside the return of the athletics program to campus, the mascot contest began with open submissions. After collecting the submissions, the field was narrowed to 32 possibilities in February. Each subsequent week included another round of voting, reducing the field by half until the final four remained in early March. After one more week of voting, there was a clear winner.
“We used the process to engage the campus and the community in re-imagining the Villa athletics brand and mascot. We wanted something that represents the school in a meaningful and fresh way,” Brian Emerson, vice president for enrollment management and student services said.
Created by Rickabaugh Graphics, who also designed brands for The Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt University among others, the new identity includes a primary and secondary logo and wordmark in one and three colors. The primary mark, consisting of the new helmeted mascot with inward curved horns and long pointed beard under the wordmark uses the college’s existing white and blue primary colors and gray and green as secondary colors.
“I think it is one of the best logos I’ve seen in a while,” Don Silveri, director of athletics said. “The color scheme is great, and it jumps out at you which is what you want in an athletics design.”
Silveri, one of Western New York’s winningest coaches with 584 career collegiate victories, served as head coach for men’s basketball at Daemen College for 25 years, while spending 12 of those years as Director of Athletics.
Villa’s athletics program will have students competing in inter-collegiate men’s and women’s soccer and basketball this fall. Soon after the college plans to apply for NCAA Division III membership and join a regional conference to compete against other local Division III schools.
A private, co-educational, Catholic college, Villa Maria provides the premiere student-centered experience in Western New York. Students learn and grow with a culturally diverse population and a culture that lives its ideals of truth, charity, and unity.