Voting on Stockton's Mascot

By Gabriella Fiorica and Emily Fuhrmann

On January 9, 1973, members of Stockton’s College Council, consisting of students, faculty and staff, gathered to decide upon a crucial detail of Stockton life: the official mascot of the college. Before we became known as the beloved Ospreys that we cheer today, the Stockton community considered quite a few candidates to take on the role. Members of the council participated in several rounds of voting before determining a winner. The voting opened with ten potential mascots. After each round, names that received the least votes were eliminated. Possible mascots included Jersey Devils, Argonauts, Ospreys, Blue Herons, Scorpions, Hobbits, Skunks, SandPipers, Mosquitos, and Clamdiggers.

Surprisingly, the Ospreys didn’t fare too well in the early rounds of the competition. In fact, during those first two rounds, the Clamdiggers—yes Clamdiggers—received the most votes. Ospreys received a single vote in the first round, while Clamdiggers received three, more than any other option. In the second round Clamdiggers once again received the most votes, matching the vote total received by Sandpipers, while Ospreys trailed behind in third. It wasn’t until the third round that chances improved for the brown and white bird. With the choices narrowed to three possible mascots, Sandpipers received five votes; Ospreys received five; and Clamdiggers only received four, thereby being eliminated from consideration. In the fourth and final round, when Ospreys and Sandpipers went head to head, it was clear to the council who deserved the top spot. Ospreys won in a landslide, receiving twelve votes to two for the Sandpipers.

The Osprey faces off a vote against the Sandpiper and the Clamdigger!
Artist, Emily Fuhrmann, imagines alternative Stockton Mascots. In this picture, the Osprey we know today is seen facing off against what could have been The Sandpiper and The Clamdigger!


It was official: the Ospreys had found a home at Stockton University. Ever since, the college has adopted the raptor as a symbol of the community. Still, the college nearly became known as the Stockton Sandpipers, or even the Stockton State Clamdiggers! We came very close to hearing the tiny sandpiper introduced at basketball games or seeing “The Clamdiggers” plastered on the back of Stockton sweatshirts. Today, the Ospreys fits just fine, embodying Stockton’s fierce, graceful, and hardworking community all in one symbol.

Below, artist, Emily Fuhrmann, reimagines the iconic Stockton "S" that would normally have The Osprey in it:

  • The current Stockton S logo
  • Reimagining with a clam
  • Reimagining with a sandpiper