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Schafer: UND logo development down to two options

GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota's Fighting Hawks athletic logo design is down to two options, and it's unknown to the public what they look like.

GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota’s Fighting Hawks athletic logo design is down to two options, and it's unknown to the public what they look like.

Interim President Ed Schafer said seven or eight semi-final concepts have been narrowed to two after several recent focus groups. The next step is deciding the appropriate time to release the final logo.

"I want to have a new university for the new president," Schafer said in reference to incoming President Mark Kennedy. "New nickname, new logo, new budget and new president."

Schafer said he wants to release the logo before he leaves office June 30 but has also debated waiting until students come back in the fall. Merchandise manufacturing also needs to be considered, as that process takes time.

"On one hand it isn't the best time to make an announcement when all the students are gone," he said. "On the other hand if we're going to be prepared for the students to arrive in the end of August we have to get on it earlier."

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Design firm SME Inc. is creating the logo and the company's original proposal had a final release date of mid-May. Schafer, a former executive with the Gold Seal Company and co-founder of communications company Extend America, said he has been hands-on with the logo given his experience.

"It has probably taken longer than they want because of the demands of the president," Schafer said, laughing.

UND redacted what appeared to be several logo variations from a Herald open records request in March, citing a state statute protecting draft information.

The Fighting Hawks nickname has replaced UND's longtime Fighting Sioux moniker, which was retired after the NCAA threatened sanctions.

Schafer said he isn't bothered by the continued popularity of the Fighting Sioux nickname but wishes the process of selecting the Fighting Hawks name had been done in a more professional way.

"It's a good nickname and we're going to build value to it, and in 10 years or so it's going to be very meaningful to the university, but we're not starting out saying this is really meaningful to North Dakota," he said. "It's not some unique special thing North Dakota has so we have to build value to that final nickname and logo. That's going to take longer and it's going to be harder to do than if you'd put the elements in up front."

The process involved two committees working for more than a year, accepting more than 1,000 submissions from across the country, which were then narrowed down and voted on by various stakeholder groups such as students, alumni, donors and university employees.

"We took 2,000 amateurs and said choose which one you want, so that's what we have," Schafer said.

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