In 1981, the Physical Education department, in conjunction with the Athletic Association, sponsored a contest to determine the look of their new mascot: the phoenix. The phoenix is a mythical bird said to burst into flame and be reborn from its own ashes.
Similar to the phoenix, Wilson has on more than one occasion experienced a “rebirth”. In fact, the College found a place to call its home because of a literal fire. In 1864, the Confederates raided Chambersburg and made a point of burning the home of noted Lincoln supporter Col. Alexander McClure. McClure rebuilt his home after the war and sold his home (now Norland Hall) and 52 acre property to the Board of Trustees for the newly created Wilson College.
Just prior to 1981, Wilson went through a major upheaval that directly prompted the rise of the phoenix mascot. In 1979, President Waggoner and the Board of Trustees announced the closure of the College due in large part to financial difficulties. In response, concerned alumnae, students, faculty, and staff campaigned to keep the College open and eventually succeeded in reversing the Board’s decision. Like the mythical phoenix, Wilson recreated itself in the aftermath of the near-closing.
Shown here are some of the student submitted designs for the College’s new mascot: