Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Last Friday, I met with the Illinois Student Senators who initiated and chaired the effort to explore the possibility of developing a first-ever mascot for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

They and their committee have led a thorough and thoughtful process that identifies the benefits and challenges of moving forward with this effort. They reached out to the various stakeholder groups, listened carefully to all perspectives and now recommend we move forward with this initiative. The Student Senate voted to support the final report of the ad-hoc committee by a vote of 28-2-1. The report is available at

The students recommend an open, educational and transparent process to identify a first-ever mascot that includes not only students and the campus community, but also alumni and the local community.

I have accepted their report and its recommendations, and I intend to appoint a steering committee of 10-12 people – with representatives from various stakeholder groups. We will begin preliminary work shortly after Commencement and will create a timeline going forward.

I want to thank committee chairs, Mark Schaer and Alex Villanueva, and every member of the ad-hoc committee for their commitment and dedication to this effort.

I am optimistic that this initiative will help build school spirit and loyalty beyond athletics.

Best wishes,

Barb Wilson
Interim Chancellor

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