School Spirit

The search for an IC mascot             

By Gillian Smith ’12

For the first time in history, Ithaca 
College will be naming an official school mascot. In fall 2010, representatives from a subcommittee of the Student 
Government Association, tasked to fuel school spirit, sat down with the Office of Marketing Communications to discuss the 
possibility of creating a mascot. The group felt an official mascot would boost participation at College functions, become a recognizable symbol for the College, and act as a continual rallying point for the IC community.

From there, a mascot selection task force was assembled, consisting of representative students (athletes and nonathletes), alumni, 
faculty, and staff. In November, the task force launched a six-week campaign to collect ideas about what the mascot could be. Alumni, 
students, faculty, and staff sent in over 250 suggestions.

From those 250 suggestions, the task force narrowed down the list to a smaller group of finalists. In April, the results were shared with the IC community, accompanied by a survey asking for feedback on the finalists.

“Students have embraced the Bomber 
nickname for the last 70 years, and the arrival 
of an official mascot will not change that,” says Mike Lindberg, associate director of inter-collegiate athletics and cochair of the mascot selection task force. “The origin of the Bomber nickname is somewhat ambiguous, but the most accurate theory is that a local sports reporter in the 1940s coined the term in reference to the IC basketball team’s bomb-like shots. The school will keep the ‘Bomber’ nickname because it is a point of great pride for many alumni, and it is rooted in the history of our College. It will always be a great day to be a Bomber.”

Over the years, the College has seen 
many different student-initiated costumes appear on its playing fields. A unicorn debuted in the 1970s, a rooster in the 1980s, and a fighter pilot appeared sporadically for 
a couple of decades beginning in the 1980s. 
An homage to these characters has been 
created on the mascot website at, and alumni are encouraged to send in their memories and photos 

The task force will announce the selected mascot later this summer, and its costume will be unveiled later this fall.

Stay abreast of the latest updates in the mascot search at



There is no mention of the opposition to the mascot change anywhere in this article. Please go to the following websites to help us Save the Bomber!

Face Book Page: Save the Bomber:!/home.php?sk=group_193743253996768&ap=1

Alumni Reaction to Mascot Picks:

Syracuse Post Standard Article:

College Mascots Bomb:

What really creates a strong enrollment is a strong and active alumni, not a mascot change. Look at the major schools around the country. Look at their alumni associations. Look at how much they promote their schools through donations, through networking opportunities, regional alumni functions, regional prespective student meet and greets, etc... A strong and active alumni does SO much more than a silly mascot change. I believe the President is gambling the future of our school with a mascot change over a strong and active alumni. It's kind of like playing poker and going "all in" on a pair of 4's against a Full House.

I'm dismayed that the committee has taken a "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" approach given the wide-spread disagreement with this effort. There is nothing wrong with Bomberman, leave him as our mascot and make him "official". The three choices provided are laughable.

Here's my take on the whole affair:

Ms. Smith-
I just finished reading your piece on the mascot search. Being that the mascots were announced several weeks ago, I was interested to read how this topic was being covered and the latest information concerning it. I can only assume after having read this that you were not made aware of, or did any research into, the controversy surrounding this process in the course of putting together your report. As one of numerous Alumni that are against the mascot search, as it is currently structured, I wanted to make sure you were informed of this controversy and could cover both sides of the story to ensure it does not look like IC View/Alumni Relations is trying to paper over this issue.

I?ve included some basic points and links to other resources as well.

? The committee determined that ?war themed? submissions would not be considered. This despite the fact that our nick name is ?Bombers? and for a significant period of time our ?unofficial? mascot was a person in a WWII Pilot outfit.
? The President has stated that the mascot is ?Not for Alumni? and will not be ?A plane or pilot about to drop bombs on someone?. Our Alumni as a whole has found this inflammatory and those that have served in the armed forces were especially offended.
? The finalists selected would seem to run afoul of the same guidelines the committee created to exclude the ?Bomberman? (Our original "unofficial" mascot)
-Phoenix: Religious connotations and origin
-Lake Monster: the ?urban legend? in Ithaca was of giant sturgeon in Cayuga Lake, not the creature from the black lagoon
-Squirrel: In Mr. Englesman?s own words, the squirrel ?flies around like a Bomber?, seems to be a war theme to me
? Alumni have sent letters, started Face Book pages, signed petitions and participated in other articles since the finalists were announced. Administration at Ithaca College, while responding to these politely, have otherwise not changed course.
? Administration continues to speak of ?student support? and excitement around this process and finalists, but we?ve seen little to no evidence of that (See Ithacan Article at end)

Face Book Page: Save the Bomber!/home.php?sk=group_193743253996768&ap=1

Syracuse Post Standard Article

Alumni Reaction to Mascot Picks

College Mascots Bomb

Please let me know if you would like any additional information. I hope that you take the opportunity to cover both sides of this issue.

Chris Bovi '92
Charlotte, NC

There is a large part of the Ithaca College community that is absolutely outraged and embarrassed by the choices that the mascot has chosen to represent our school. Regardless of whether Ithaca College needs a mascot or not has largely become irrelevant. None of these mascots represents the fighting spirit of the Ithaca College Bomber, on the athletic field or in the academic quad. If these are the best that was offered then we need to cast a wider a net, go back to the drawing board and find a mascot which represents the entire community bringing us together, rather than driving us apart.

There's no need in fixing what isn't broken. The Bomber mascot was alive and well during my years on South Hill. President Whalen embraced the mascot. Our beloved Bomber was even cheering on the football team at the '88 National Championship. Let's not let political correctness run amok.
I was quite disappointed to learn that my alma mater's mascot was being cast aside. I was further disappointed by the choices that were being trotted out. My disappointment continued when I (eventually) received my ballot only to find that there was no "None of the Above" choice. Those receiving the survey were forced to make a choice that they may not have been in favor of. At least there was a comment section to voice my dismay.
I honestly don't believe having "Bomber the rabid rodent" is any sort of panacea. It'll only be a matter of time until the name "Bomber" will be lost to history, despite the assurances to the contrary.
Let's embrace the Bomber mascot, not force it into retirement. Tradition effective immediately is not a quality I wish for in my alma mater. Save the Bomber!

This article was written from an uninformed author who forgot to check her facts and forgot to query those IC constituents that don't reside on campus. The uproar, especially from IC's vast alumni network, has been both impressive and troubling. Impressive in that there are thousands of alumni (read: Donors that add millions of critical dollars to the college's coffers to help offset the declining value of federal and state aid) that have voiced their overwhelmingly negative opinion of all three mascot "choices", and troubling in that President R. doesn't seem to give a damn what the alumni think. As a 1980 grad, I will be embarrassed if IC ultimately selects any of the three mascot choices. "We don't need no stinking mascot" is my new battle cry, and neither the squirrel, the phoenix or the lake monster fairly represent what our College stands for better than plain old IC Bomber does.

We are the Bombers, not a flying squirrel, lake thing or lame bird named Bomber. When you have something perfect why mess it up?

Another Facebook page dedicated to stopping this unwanted change!!/home.php?sk=group_154101334652594&ap=1

As an alumni I am so sick of IC admins and this garbage about creating a mascot. Just leave the school and its name the way it're alumni support is dwindling fast. Frankly this whole thing is embarrassing. I can't tell you how many calls and conversations I have had with friends who attended other D3 schools - Ithaca is a laughing stock right now. Absolutely embarrassing.

This is simply a move by the powers at be at IC towards a more PC culture. As if it isn't/wasn’t already PC enough. Stop wasting time, money, energy with silly irrelevant mascot ideas and improve on Bomberman! He IS Ithaca College, he IS the Bombers and he is US!

Thanks for everyone’s lively comments on this topic. ICView writing intern Gillian Smith was asked to simply update readers on the progress of the mascot search and refer people to the website in order to stay abreast of current developments—-which she did. Reactions to the search and mascot selections are posted on the website for anyone to read or comment on.

Dear Clare Ulrich

Your defense of the writer is admirable. You are standing up and taking responsibility, and that is a great value to be instilling in the school.

However, I do have an issue with the overall assignment. You have asked a writing intern to "update readers on the progress of the mascot search and refer people to the website in order to stay abreast of current developments" The piece itself is not really an update, but rather a rehash of what has already happened. There is one quote from a member of the committee and no else from the entire IC community is quoted. There was also no reference to the reaction of the community, either pro or con, on how the mascot choices were received.

It is also ironic that you refer people to the mascot website, when that site has not been updated since April 22. Why would you want to drive traffic to stale content? This just not make any sense.

If this is the journalism we are teaching our students, to report on old news and refer people to stale content, then I have to wonder what we are preparing our students to do?

To my Save The Bomber group brethren here ... We can't shoot the messenger here. So on that point, I do agree with Clare. However, the title of the publication is ICView. The topic is to inform alumni of updates on this issue. A rehash and a push to a stale page is more of the IC View, not the view of those of us who continue to voice our opinions and engage and implore the powers that be to review our notes and listen to our opinions.

When certain members of the task force, specifically coaches and student athletes, are telling us that THEIR voices aren't being heard, there's an issue and it needs to be investigated.

Just one of the many great ideas coming from the Save the Bomber movement.