For the first time in 63 years, North Central Michigan College has an official mascot.

During an April 27 meeting, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of the mascot that students said best represents the college: The North Central Timberwolf.

President David Roland Finley said the Timberwolf captures the spirit of the college and its students.

“Wolves embody many of the characteristics of North Central students, including intelligence, resilience, drive, focus and teamwork,” Finley said.  “They are known for working together so that the whole pack succeeds.  You’ll find the same attitude among our entire campus community.”

Carol Laenen, vice president of Marketing, said the adoption of the Timberwolf mascot follows a months-long, data-driven process that included two rounds of surveys, extensive sentiment analysis and tests of concept art.

Dozens of potential mascot suggestions were considered and narrowed to a field of eight, which stakeholders further pared to three finalists: the Bobcat, the Ferret, and the Timberwolf.  A fourth, “wildcard” option, the Raptor, was also considered.

While the initial eight-mascot survey solicited feedback from students, alumni, community members, board members, faculty and staff, the second survey was open to students only.

“In both surveys, the Timberwolf was the favorite among students, and by an overwhelming majority — 45 percent — in the second survey,” Laenen said.

“I really believe that this college community exemplifies all the best characteristics of a wolf,” one student said in response to the survey.  “We are fiercely loyal, we are teamworkers, and we are only stronger together.”

Athletic Director Ashley Antonishen believes the mascot will enhance the North Central experience, uniting current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and staff, and the community.

“Timberwolves are known for their teamwork and being part of a pack, which melds nicely with our goals for the future of intercollegiate athletics at North Central,” Antonishen said. 

The “Fighting Ferret,” an unofficial mascot created by two faculty members in the early 1970s for intramural competitions, collected 21 percent of students’ votes.

“North Central will continue to honor the essence and heritage of the ‘Fighting Ferret’ and the special place it holds in many hearts,” Finley said.

The North Central Timberwolf will be introduced to the public in its physical form this summer, with additional details to be announced at a later date.

“We don’t want to show our hand just yet, but we can promise that the public’s introduction to the North Central Timberwolf will be interactive and a lot of fun,” Laenen said.

North Central Michigan College is an open-door community college based in Petoskey, with additional locations offering classes and services in Cheboygan and Gaylord.  North Central’s mission is to provide exceptional, accessible, relevant higher education of and for the community.  North Central is an Achieving the Dream Leader College with a designation of Veteran Friendly Silver by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

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Megan Van Horn
Content Media Administrator