The University of North Dakota has a new nickname: the Fighting Hawks.
The adoption of the new moniker comes following runoffs votes of five nicknames narrowed down to Fighting Hawks and Roughriders. Beginning in 2005, the NCAA prohibited the use of Native American nicknames and imagery without specific permission, an action that brought a lawsuit against UND for its use of its former nickname Fighting Sioux.
In 2012, the Fighting Sioux nickname was officially retired, and UND went simply by North Dakota, not having an official nickname.
Around 82,000 stakeholders had the opportunity to vote in the nickname selection. Alumni, students, UND employees, retirees, donors and season ticket holders took part in the voting process.
A total of 23,378 votes were cast. Fighting Hawks received 57 percent of the final vote, defeating the Roughriders nickname.
The Fighting Hawks nickname was a front runner in all three votes this fall.
“I really like the new name,” said UND senior Brittany Winter. “Fighting Hawks is similar yet different enough to be liked by many.”
UND President Robert Kelley was in favor for the nickname of Fighting Hawks; he had the final vote.
“Obviously it’s far from over,” Kelley told the Grand Forks Herald. “We’ve got a lot of work still to do, but the big part of getting through the selection of the new name is over.”
The next action is creating the Fighting Hawks logo that will be the face of UND. Meanwhile, the switch to the new nickname could take as long as three years.
“Some things will go quicker than others,” UND athletic director Brian Faison said to The Herald. “It’s like uniforms. We can do some things next year, no problem, but others are more problematic because of when you have to order the jerseys, but we’ll work through it.”
UND has spent $276,433 thus far on its nickname process, The Herald reported, a number that will only increase with time.
“Fighting Sioux will always hold a special place in my heart,” Winter said. “I think it will take a while for the new nickname and chants to really feel natural. After being the Fighting Sioux for so long, people will be leery to do new cheers at sporting events.”