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Marquette President Fr. Wild spoke on Milwaukee radio today about Marquette's new nickname. Read some of Fr. Wild's conversation with radio personality Charlie Sykes. You can also find our Nickname Poll and voice your opinion on our Free Marquette Message Board here at the site. Go to the Fan interaction section at the top right and click on "Message Board"...our free board is the second one on the list.

Charlie Sykes Interview with Father Robert Wild on 5/5/05

CS: Joining me now is the President of Marquette University Father Robert Wild. Good morning, Father.

FW: Good morning, Charlie, nice to be with you.

CS: Well, I appreciate that. So, I get to ask the question that is on a lot of people's minds.

FW: Absolutely.

CS: What were you thinking?

FW: Well, there were three decisions and one of which people are very familiar with were we going to return to the Warriors' name or not? And I think we started out as a Board and certainly this was my point of view when we got into this. I wanted to have that discussion and I thought maybe it would be positive to do that, but as we wrestled with it as we talked to various people, as we struggled with this decision in relationship to who we are as a university, a Catholic university, a Jesuit university, this got to be, as I told a lot of people, more and more difficult to contemplate and the Board wrestled with this. We spent the best part of the year going back and forth on this and finally concluded, and did so unanimously, that, no, we could not go back to that name. And that decision was an easy one, it was, our we going to remain the Golden Eagles? And when a majority of your people tell you that the whole Golden Eagles thing is boring, weak, and common, it makes a pretty easy decision, so the Board said, no, we're not going to do that and so the third decision was really to follow on something that I think is very important in all our history, we've always been the blue and gold, but we emphasized the color gold. We fill the Bradley Center with people in gold. Gold is a symbol of excellence and we have been the Marquette champions in athletics and people said, well, alright, we don't have a full program, we don't have it all worked out, but we can now talk about it. We can now deal with this as a community. We can be creative and this is a name that we think can really work for Marquette.

CS: Are you surprised by the overwhelmingly negative reaction that you are getting to this?

FW: Well, I think most of the negative reaction comes from people who feel disappointed about the Warriors' decision. It probably depends on who you talk to,

CS: Everybody.

FW: but the Warriors' decision is a challenge for people. It was a challenge for the Board, but you know Charlie it really comes down to who are we? People will say, this is a matter of political correctness, and I say, I'm no fan of political correctness. This is about something much more older, much more big. The gospel of Jesus Christ, love your neighbor as yourself, particularly the neighbor who is more marginalized and struggling. That's the Christian gospel and you know when we're talking about all this in our classrooms and we don't walk the talk, in these kinds of decisions, we get ourselves into a lot of problems. Nobody believes that we're serious about who we say we are. We're a Catholic university. This is very important for us that we really live up to these kinds of fundamental values.

CS: You mentioned before that one of the reasons you dropped the Golden Eagles was that a majority of your alumni and students hadn't bought in on it, didn't think it was inspiring, I'm looking at an online poll at JS online right now, that says about 94% of the more than 22,000 people who voted don't like the Gold, so if you dump the Golden Eagles because the majority didn't like it, how are you going to sit with the Gold if you're running it basically 94 to 6 against?

FW: Well, you know, I think this is fair, you know I hear different information. I think people need to wrestle with this a bit. It was a hard decision, the one that the Board wrestled with the most was can we go back to the Warriors' name or can't we? And I think with some reluctance that we said we cannot go back to this. This is not the right thing to do.

CS: Are you absolutely committed now to the Gold? Is there any chance that you would reconsider in light of the rather overwhelming response that I'm sure you're going to be getting to go back to the Golden Eagles?

FW: Well, I think it's very very early. We frankly here on campus see a lot of possibilities, but clearly picking up the newspaper this morning our students are from like I guess some don't that would be what I would expect, so I think we let this thing play out. Some people say, well, you just have a bad name. And that's true. But it is a name that we can fill with ____________. Let's face it, if Syracuse can do that as Orange, if Stanford can do that as the Cardinal, if Nebraska can be excited about being the Big Red, if Michigan can be the Blue, this can work for us. I think it is a matter of people getting used to it and we started with, you know, the fact that people have been excited. The fans had voted in many ways in terms of their liking of gold, everybody wears gold, but of course this is new. The students given a choice for a nickname for their student section last year actually voted for the Gold Rush. This was a surprise to people. It's natural to question it. The first reaction would be negative. I feel optimistic about going forward but I think people rightly want to see some structured content, know what we're about, and can be participants in that.

CS: How do you go about then picking a mascot for this?

FW: Well, I think there are a lot of possibilities. I mean it's a matter of really putting creative energies to work in the university community and in all the folks who surround the university. There is a lot of creativity that we can tap with respect to a mascot.

CS: Did I hear you right, I don't want to mischaracterize your answer that you're not totally closing the door to the possibility of rethinking this decision? Are you really digging your heals on this or is it the Gold for the next 20, 30 years?

FW: I don't think at universities we ever dig our heals in that deeply. That's not what ________________________________________ that anything can be, obviously we make a decision in the best light that we can make them and march forward. I think there is a lot that points from the Board's side when we wrestled with this because of course the Board had to wrestle with this too and most of them are alumns. We think there is energy here.

CS: Are any of the Board surprised by how controversial this turned out to be?

FW: I think we all expected it initially there would be disappointment with regard to the Warriors' decision.

CS: You've got a little bit more than disappointment going on here.

FW: Well, I don't know. I think that there is always in athletics a tremendous amount of emotion swirling around and that can be good, that can be a challenge. I think overall it's a wonderful thing. People engaging but at the end of the day, people care about Marquette. Marquette is Marquette. That's the real core here. And the university hasn't changed. And the commitment to excellence and athletics hasn't changed. And our willingness to step up and to have a very strong athletic program hasn't changed. So I really honestly do not see this as something that the university cannot march forward with and _____________ but of course people are going to have some struggles about anything, but I think ________________ particularly in light of the emotion that has surrounded this for many many years of the Warriors' name.

CS: Father Wild, I appreciate you making yourself available and coming on this morning.

FW: You bet.

CS: Good luck.

FW: Happy to talk to you.

CS: I appreciate it.

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