College students at Oswego have engaged in athletic competition since founder Edward Austin Sheldon strolled the lakeshore in the 1800s. But the college’s student-athletes will start sporting a unified identity for the first time this year.
For most of the college’s history, the identity of the sports teams was “very fragmented,” SUNY Oswego Athletic Director Tim Hale said. Before developing a consistent identity, “we had 23 different varsity sports with 23 different logos,” he said. “We had teams not even using the school colors.”
The new identity has a nautical theme, tying in with Oswego’s lakeside location. A primary logo features a stylized rendition of “Oswego State” with a gold ship’s flag flying over it. A secondary mark features the “Lakers” nickname in gold emblazoned across a hunter green ship’s wheel sporting the school’s name. Each team also has its own customized version of the secondary mark as well as a word mark.
In 2002, Sports Information Director Lyle Fulton and Mike Howard, assistant director of sports information and coach of Oswego’s wrestling and golf teams, got the ball rolling toward a standard image. Symbolic Inc. of Fairport, whose clients include St. John’s University and Nazareth College, was retained to design and implement the athletic graphic identity program.
Hale, who came aboard as athletic director in fall 2003, emphasized that it was a large team effort involving feedback from student-athletes, individual students and groups like the Student Association and advisory groups like the Intercollegiate Athletic Board.
“We tried to get as much reaction as we could,” said Dr. James Scharfenberger, associate vice president and dean of students at Oswego. “It was interesting to learn about how people viewed their athletic teams and what constituted a logo that identified Oswego State.”
Scharfenberger said the new identity ties into an effort to better integrate athletics into student life and boost school spirit. “It’s not only an entree into making our teams more visible, it’s an entree into making our athletes more connected to the rest of the campus,” he said.
The new look will be phased in on home uniforms, away uniforms and warm-ups for all the athletic teams over the next few years, Hale said.
Placing the athletic designs in high-visibility areas like on the ice in Romney Field House and the Laker Hall courts will expose the new look to community members, Hale said. The athletic identity will appear on promotional items like stress balls and water bottles, and a mailing will introduce the new look to around 4,500 athletic alumni.
Hale said discussions are under way on making merchandise with the new logos available at the College Book Store in Hewitt Union.
- END -
(Posted: Sep 08, 2004)