Hugo the Hawk

This April, students participated in a mascot naming competition as part of the Athletic department’s new logo identity, which included implementing a new rendition of the Hawk, the College mascot. In a landslide victory, Hugo – which was suggested by 12 students who saw the name’s historic connection to New Paltz – rose above all others.

The winning name is derived from Hugo Freer, who was one of the 12 original French Huguenots who founded New Paltz in 1677. The Freer house still stands just minutes from campus on one of the oldest streets in America, Huguenot Street. Others made the connection of the Huguenots for the name, which also evoked the spirit of New Paltz’s history.

To reward the students for their winning recommendation, their 12 names were drawn out of a hat during the seventh inning stretch at the home baseball game on April 8. The lucky winner, Kimberly Sheets (’12), was awarded an iPod Touch, courtesy of Campus Auxiliary Services. Coincidentally, it was her birthday, as well.

Kimberly Sheets

“It was really funny,” said Sheets. “I’m not exactly big on birthdays – I was like ‘I’m turning 20, woo-hoo,’ but this was really exciting. It lifted the spirit of my whole day.”

Sheets, who is a History Education major, said she came up with the name while out for a run on Huguenot Street. “It just came to me and I figured I might as well submit it,” she said.

After receiving more than 300 entries, the names were narrowed down to the six most popular. Those names included Hank, Havoc, Hugo, Sky, Talli and Talon.

In 1951, the Hawk was chosen as the official College mascot by a vote of the students. The naming competition carries on a tradition that took flight more than half a century ago.

Hugo the Hawk will make select appearances at home athletic competitions and other campus spirit events throughout the year.