Eastern Michigan University was established in 1849 as the Michigan State Normal School. Since then it has grown and prospered, and changed its name three times. EMU started off as a school and has grown into a university.
Changing the name of the college did not create as much of a problem with the students, alumni and administration as changing the mascot did. EMU has changed its mascot three times: from a Normalite, to a huron and then to an eagle.
Normally, once the mascot of a school has changed, the former mascot is retired forever. Recently EMU President Susan Martin decided to take a chance and bring all three mascots together on the university’s new Marching Band uniforms.
“We want to welcome Normalite and Huron alumni to join our Eagles. All united as Eastern alumni all under the block E,” Martin said.
This action faced both heavy criticism and great support.
“I don’t think people are allowed to be upset that we were the Hurons. There are many Indian-based mascots and we’re on the Huron River,” EMU junior Rachel Orbach said. “Why do they have either? Shouldn’t they just have the Eagles?”
EMU sophomore Alison Laufenberg-Prescott was happy with the addition of the logos.
“I would say it is nice to bring back some of the older mascots to the band’s uniform. I’m not sure if this is permanent, but this can unite some of the EMU alumni with that of today’s student body,” she said.
Senior Robert Fick Jr. was also supportive of the change.
“I think it’s a great thing. History and culture is a huge part of what forms a school and shapes its future. So to represent our rich and diverse past is a great idea,” he said.
Martin said the Normalite and Huron logos are not that visible publicly, but have mostly been well received.
“The overall feedback is very positive. We want all alumni to feel welcome,” Martin said.