NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) today unveiled a new mascot on Tuesday, September 10th at the Volleyball match. After months of planning and seeking input from the diverse community of those connected to the College – including students, alumni, faculty, staff and fans throughout the Berkshires and beyond – MCLA’s mascot will be a mountain lion, part of Berkshire County legend and folklore.
MCLA adopted the “Trailblazer” name in 2002, in reference to connections to the historic and recreational trails in the North Adams area, such as the African-American Heritage Trail, Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, Mohawk Trail, Molly Stark Trail, Taconic Trail and the Mount Greylock trail system.
According to Adam Hildabrand, MCLA men’s soccer coach and the chair of the College’s Mascot Search Committee, the time was right for MCLA to add a mascot to its Trailblazers name and logo, both of which are strong and well-established.
“We have come a long way since 2002. We know who we are and what we want to be. By adding the mountain lion with our Trailblazers mountain logo, we will have a story and strong figure to represent who we are,” said Adam Hildabrand
Although today the mountain lion is believed to be extinct in Berkshire County by scientists and wildlife officials, some Berkshire County residents swear they have seen the cat.
“For the fan, the mountain lion has become part of Berkshire County legend and folklore. The mountain lion is another representation of a Trailblazer,” Hildabrand explained. “A ‘trailblazer,’ quite simply, is one who makes trails. The mountain lion is the animal that first blazed trails in the Berkshires. So, the mountain lion is number one, which is what we strive to be as a College and as an athletics department.”
The search for the new mascot primarily was conducted online. After a period of input, the MCLA Mascot Search Committee eliminated any mascot entries that did not follow the criteria it outlined. Similar mascot ideas were grouped together before the Committee narrowed the search down to the three most popular ideas.
“The mountain lion was in fact the most popular suggestion, overall,” Hildabrand said. “From there, we had many meetings across campus with a wide range of people, and presented them with the final three mascots. In the end, the mountain lion was chosen.”
In addition to Hildabrand, the mascot committee included Matthew Boillat, head athletic trainer; Dr. Anthony Daly, history professor; Christopher Fried ’11; Sara Grimaldi ’12; Michael Lattanzio ’12; Bernadette Lupo, director of marketing and communications; Jacqueline Nash ’12; Celia Norcross, director of student development and activities; Brandon Pender, alumni relations coordinator; John Powers ’14; and Daniel Saunders ’12.