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Lourdes College students assumed a new identity yesterday.
No longer are they simply students. They are now Gray Wolves.
The mascot was unveiled during the dedication ceremony of the new student center in Delp Hall.
"It creates a sense of identity," said Lisa Binkowski, director of student activities and recreation at the college. "This is who I am. This is me coming home. I am a Gray Wolf."
Students, faculty, staff, and alumni were asked what the new symbol of Lourdes should be as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this school year.
The pillars and arch that accompany the college name are formal, Ms. Binkowski said. When she joined the college a little over two years ago, she thought it could use a mascot to which everyone could relate.
It appears the rest of the college agreed.
Nearly 1,000 votes came in this fall, with 36 percent choosing the Gray Wolf. That beat out suggestions such as the monarch butterflies, comets, and Lourdes lightning.
The wolf is part of the Franciscan tradition, in which Lourdes is rooted. The story of St. Francis of Assisi and the wolf of Gubbio tells of the meaning of community, an important aspect of life on campus, Lourdes President Bob Helmer said.
"We take that sense of community seriously," he said.
The broad involvement in choosing the school mascot shows that, Mr. Helmer said, "That's how we do it here."
After the Gray Wolf was selected, campus artists were summoned to develop a design.
The college's new logo has a profile of the head of a Gray Wolf with the word "Lourdes" above it and "Gray Wolves" below in a terra cotta circle.
The school's colors are terra cotta and black.
Art student Luke Ellison's depiction of the wolf was chosen by the mascot committee out of more than 50 submissions.
"I love this school and thought it would be sweet to be part of something like this," said Mr. Ellison, 27, of South Toledo, who is in his second semester at Lourdes.
It took a few dozen drafts to get there, but Mr. Ellison said he's proud of the finished product.
"I thought, keep it simple," he said.
Yesterday's event was all about the students as the mascot unveiling, which drew loud applause from a crowd of a few hundred, was included in the dedication of the new Ebeid Student Center in the lower level of Delp Hall.
Named for Russell J. Ebeid, who gave a gift of $250,000 to the college, the center is the first dedicated space on campus specifically for students. There's a pool table, Ping-Pong table, stage for poetry readings and small acoustic music events, lounge chairs, and offices for student groups.
Mr. Ebeid is the president of Guardian Industries Glass Group.
His granddaughter recently graduated from Lourdes and he said the atmosphere on campus reminded him of his parochial school days.
"I identified with it quickly even though I never went here," he said. "I've always been interested in education and I want to encourage it."
Mr. Ebeid said the student center, which he hopes will be part of a legacy for his family, is "pretty slick" and he's glad students now have their place on campus.
"It's got everything," he said.
Contact Meghan Gilbert at: email@example.com or 419-724-6134.