It wasn’t until 2005 that Pierce college had a mascot.
Pierce opened its doors in 1967 with the designated colors of crimson and blue, which eventually changed to grey, which is the second color for Pierce. The name ‘Raiders’, however, has never changed.
“The name “Raiders” has been here since the time the college started athletics. I think over the years they were trying to figure out how to visually display it,” Chancellor Michele Johnson said.
During the years, students began voicing their interest in the creation of an actual mascot after previous attempts.
“Everybody else has a mascot, they have a gator a dolphin or a Viking. We could never really settle on something and it just seemed to pass from year to year,” athletics director Duncan Stevenson said.
In 2005, the mascot was finally brought to life. Student Life, the athletics department and the student governments from both campuses decided to put on a contest allowing students to create the mascot.
The design was required to be gender neutral, non-threatening, non-violent or offensive.
The winner would receive $100 and their image would be used forevermore to represent Pierce College.
The original winning entry was of a horse head, though the image was disqualified because the person who created it wasn’t currently a student, and the rules stated it had to be a student submission. The second place design was chosen to be the new winner, Jason Stark. He fashioned the Raider into a hawk or ‘bird of prey.’
“It essentially was the concept of a bird of prey, a hawk or an eagle. Whatever had the P and the C of Pierce College incorporated into it,” Stevenson said.
After the decision went through the process of the general student vote, approved by the student government and passed onto the board of trustees. Then, Stark’s image was then enhanced.
“They decided on the bird and then turned it over to college relations to help sort of stylize it and refine it. The initial image was provided by the student who won and then there was some changing to it,” Johnson said.
Ever since, the Raider has been used to represent athletics and student life. The bird has been fashioned with crimson and grey feathers. The “P” for Pierce forms the body and its talons form a “C” for college. An “R” for Raiders can also be interpreted when looking at the whole shape of the bird
The formal logo for Pierce is the abstract mountains that reflect Mount Rainier. The cross sections across the mountain can be interpreted as the feathers of the Raider bird that naturally embed into it. The Raider is the spirit side of Pierce.
Over the last couple years, there has been talk from Pierce students and student life on whether there are more personal details to the Raider.
“I think at one point I heard his name, or her name, was Randy. Randy is one of those names that can go either way,” Johnson said.
There has also been conversation between students wondering whether there is a story or folklore behind this bird. The Raider is in fact a bird, but the rest of the details remain up for discussion.
“Maybe he’s the first bird who came to college and he found his way here; maybe he found his way here after flogging through the snow,” Johnson said. “I don’t know. I don’t know what they are going to make up.”
In the future, the design of the Raider might inherit a new design. It’s possible it will turn into a cartoon or take a three dimensional shape. Many schools update their design every eight to 10 years.
“I think it could be a lot more modern,” student Tommy Roland said. “This looks like a
90’s sports logo. But I think they could make it look a lot more modern and cool looking.”
Whether there is a story or new design, the Raider bird is exclusive to Pierce and serves as the symbol for school spirit.
“I think it’s pretty important. If you had a dumb mascot, then people would think poorly of your school,” student Sean Kim said.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost