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Horse in, Sam out

New mascot launched after campuswide vote

UT Arlington Mavericks Mascot

A new mascot galloped onto campus this fall.

Apparel and merchandise bearing the white horse’s head outlined in orange with a blue mane already have become popular items with the UT Arlington community.

Students voted last spring to replace Sam and Samantha Maverick, whose cowboy personas, it was judged, had become outdated over 20 years. The horse prevailed by almost 3 to 1 in the April elections.

“Students were presented the image and asked to vote their opinion,” 2006-07 Student Congress President Zac Sanders said. “The results were just as the committee and the focus groups expected, a clear ‘yes.’ ”

A mascot redesign committee was formed in fall 2005 to explore alternatives to Sam Maverick. An online survey drew overwhelming response: Remove Sam and work toward a new representation.

“We wanted new ideas along with people’s opinions of Sam,” said Sanders, who chaired the committee as Student Congress vice president at the time.

In spring 2006 the University held an online contest for students, faculty, staff and alumni to submit ideas for a mascot. Four designs were chosen.

That summer the committee teamed with Design Texas, an upper-level course for top graphic design students, to hone the depictions. Rebecca Duff, a senior, was the principal designer.

“The strongest images were selected and prepared for four focus groups, three consisting of students and one consisting of alumni,” Sanders said. “My intention as committee chair was to have the students vote on two or three images. However, the current design had no clear competition.”

Though the process was student-driven, many UT Arlington stakeholders had a say.

“Student Congress involved several University administrators and the Alumni Office throughout the process, including the design concept contest, the focus groups, and working with UT Arlington students and faculty who make up the Design Texas team,” Assistant Vice President for Communications Amy Schultz said. “It’s been a partnership all along the way.”

Sanders is pleased with the finished product.

“It shines with spirit and class,” he said. “When I think of our ‘Be A Maverick’ tagline, this image really captures that message.”

The representation above is one of several variations available on merchandise in the UT Arlington Bookstore.

— Jim Patterson

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