Other Views: UND logo’s popularity will grow

GRAND FORKS -- Time, human nature and history are on the University of North Dakota's side, as far as acceptance of the new logo is concerned.Time, because new freshmen keep arriving at UND, and their connection with old logos and nicknames becom...


GRAND FORKS - Time, human nature and history are on the University of North Dakota’s side, as far as acceptance of the new logo is concerned.
Time, because new freshmen keep arriving at UND, and their connection with old logos and nicknames becomes more remote with every passing year.
Human nature, because we’re a tribal species, and that means our deepest impulses push us toward supporting - not resenting - our hometown teams.
And history, because over the past few years, UND administrators (including both former President Robert Kelley and Interim President Ed Schafer) have done a good job of rendering the new nickname and logo impregnable - that is, protected against critics’ slings and arrows.
Here’s how.
Time. “A stalk of asparagus.” “The big furnace chimney on the Potomac Flats.” “It is to be regretted that ages are likely to elapse before the monument will fall down.” There was no social media in the 1800s, but that didn’t stop people from criticizing the design of the tall obelisk then being built to honor America’s first president - the now-iconic landmark called the Washington Monument.
More recently, who can forget the ugly, bitter and fantastically shortsighted description of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a “black gash of shame”?
The point is not to compare UND’s new logo to these structures on our Capitol Mall. The point is that familiarity often breeds contentment, not contempt. That’s especially true with team names: Lots of teams have changed their names over the decades, sometimes sparking protests. But years later, have any of those hard feelings truly lingered? So isn’t it likely that UND fans also will come to accept the change?
Human nature. Of all the comments made about the new logo, UND football coach Bubba Schweigert’s touching and supportive speech at the logo’s unveiling has resonated most strongly. Why?
Probably because Schweigert, with his folksiness, humility and unabashed love of UND, speaks to the “better angels of our nature.” He’s showing the university community the way forward: after all, would you rather stew in resentment about an irrevocable change, or accept it with grace and get back to being a fan?
Likewise, Schweigert is leading in a way that inspires others to follow. As he noted, when UND’s football team runs onto the field in the fall, they’ll be wearing the new Fighting Hawks logo on their helmets. It won’t take many seasons before UND fans start showing off their loyalty, too.
History. Was Fighting Hawks the first choice of the Herald’s editorial board? No. Was it the second or third choice? No and no again.
Interim President Schafer himself has confessed that he’s not a big fan of the name.
But here’s the thing: UND stakeholders voted, and Fighting Hawks won. That’s that. It’s the way we do things in America, and it’s why there’s very little prospect of overturning the results.
As for the logo, the fact that it’s a product of one of top design firms in the world likewise shields it from fatal abuse.
Schweigert’s on to something. “I love Alex as much as I love A.J.”, Schweigert said in his speech, telling a story of his son, who’d asked to be called by his full name rather than his nickname.
“And I love this university. ... And it’s real important that we feel that way about this change and this transition.” Heartfelt, classy - and right.
The Grand Forks Herald’s Editorial Board formed this opinion.

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