Campus Buzz

Gunner Griffin Permanently Moving South: Student Thoughts on the New Griffin

Fontbonne is getting a new griffin. How does campus feel?

Like most birds, Gunner the Griffin will be flying south for the winter. Not for vacation, however, but to retire.

The griffin has been the symbol of Fontbonne since 1976, when the school was trying to attract more male students. There were several other mascot options, but the school community voted for the griffin. The griffin never had an official name until decades later.

Gunner Griffin became the mascot for Fontbonne University when it debuted at the “Late Night with Lee McKinney” basketball game on November 9, 2007. Gunner has been used for Fontbonne magazines, athletics, and community events since then.

However, Gunner’s time at Fontbonne is coming to an end. His retirement will leave the school without a mascot. That search has already begun.

The process for this came when former student and mascot performer Max Kirkpatrick wrote and submitted a Fontbonne Community Connection (FCC) grant for a new mascot for Fontbonne. During the summer of 2019, the grant was accepted, and the school could move forward in securing the new costume to match the overall changing brand.

Stephanie Brandt and Karl Brown, who are two new athletic coaches on campus, oversaw development and research. They worked with Joel Hermann, the Director of Orientation and Student Engagement, to help come up with names and move the process forward.

Artwork for the mascot outfit is still in development. Both the new design and name will be announced at the Battle of Big Bend (the annual basketball game against Webster University) on February 5, 2020.

On College Colors Day, August 30th, Fontbonne students voted for their preferred name for the new griffin. The name options were Bonnie, Gideon, and Gusty.

The name Bonnie comes from the ending of Font”bonne.” Gideon comes from the Christian figure who led his soldiers into victory, which the new griffin will represent. Gusty represents the idea of being able to “soar higher,” which is the new school slogan.

Here are some student thoughts on what the new name should be and how they feel about the new griffin.

Cory Schonhoff (Freshman)

What are your thoughts on Gunner the Griffin?

“Not going to lie, didn’t know that [Gunner] had a name. I’m being really honest with you [laughter].”

What are your thoughts on Fontbonne changing the design and name of the Griffin?

“I mean, I don’t really have a problem with it. It happens, change is not bad.”

Out of the three names, Gideon, Gusty, and Bonnie, which is your favorite and why?

“I like Gideon; it just sounded the best in my head.”

Taylor Jackson (Freshman)

What are your thoughts on Gunner the Griffin?

“I like the name. I think it’s catchy, and it’s unique.”

What are your thoughts on Fontbonne changing the design and name of the Griffin?

“I think that change is always a good thing.”

Out of the three names, Gideon, Gusty, and Bonnie, which is your favorite and why?

“Gusty. It sounds cool.”

William Klenke (Sophomore)

What are your thoughts on Gunner the Griffin?

“I love Gunner. I think he is a token of Fontbonne and is good for school spirit.”

What are your thoughts on Fontbonne changing the design and name of the Griffin?

“I love it. I think it matches the marketing changes and I think the new griffin [athletic] looks great.”

Out of the three names, Gideon, Gusty, and Bonnie, which is your favorite and why?

“Gideon, I like that name.”          

Jillian Boone (Junior)

What on your thoughts on Gunner the Griffin?

“Gunner was a good mascot. I only experienced Gunner as our mascot for two years, but I think he is great.”

What are your thoughts on Fontbonne changing the design and name of the Griffin?

“I am excited that the griffin is changing. I think with the re-brand of Fontbonne, it makes sense to change it. There are so many more possibilities when things are new, so I am hoping that stays true with a new mascot.”

Out of the three names, Gideon, Gusty, and Bonnie, which is your favorite and why?

“My favorite name of the three options is Gideon. I think it sounds more aggressive and cool, which a mascot should be. Not that the other names aren’t great options as well.”

Samantha Boeving (Senior)

What on your thoughts on Gunner the Griffin?

I’ve loved having Gunner. I’m really sad that he’s leaving. As somebody who has done a lot with Gunner, I think Gunner has become less important to the younger students than it was… when I first got here, so I think its going to be a good time for a transition. I only really see, at events, only our older students and then alumni who are all about Gunner. So, I’m really sad about it.

What are your thoughts on Fontbonne changing the design and name of the Griffin?

“I was really sad, like really, really sad to see Gunner go. It’s taken a lot for me to get on board with this change, but I think that just with the direction that the university is going with, and all the new changes, with logo and how they see Fontbonne going, I think it’s a good time to change. I think out next griffin will be great. He already looks really cool.”

Out of the three names, Gideon, Gusty, and Bonnie, which is your favorite and why?

“Gideon, because it’s the name of a tv show, Criminal Minds. I don’t know, I think it sounded like a Griffin, more or less than Bonnie or Gusty. I did not like Gusty.”

Melissa Eichhorn (Administrative Assistant)

What are your thoughts on Gunner the Griffin?

“I like the Gunner we have.”

What are your thoughts on Fontbonne changing the design and name of the Griffin?

“I feel the campus should have been more involved in both the new look and name suggestions.  It would have been fun to have a campus contest.”

Out of the three names, Gideon, Gusty, and Bonnie, which is your favorite and why?

“I was not a fan of any of the names.  I would have preferred seeing the new mascot and then choosing a name.”

The changes and Gunner leaving have varied opinions across campus. Gunner has been a symbol on campus for many years. Although Gunner has only been at Fontbonne for just over a decade, he has filled the role of a cheerleader, supporter, and advocate. Whoever the new griffin is, they will have big paws, and talons, to fill.

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