Valparaiso Changes Nickname: Crusaders to Beacons | Athletic Business

Valparaiso Changes Nickname: Crusaders to Beacons

Valparaiso University’s sports teams will go by the Beacons from now on. The university in Indiana announced the new nickname Tuesday, about six months after retiring their former name, the Crusaders, because it had been embraced by hate groups.

While announcing the new nickname Tuesday, Valparaiso said “Beacons” directly connects to the school’s motto: In thy Light We See Light.

“We are beacons of light and hope in our communities,” Valparaiso University president José D. Padilla, J.D., said in the press release. “We are beacons of change on campus, in our region and in our country. We are beacons of knowledge for our students’ academic, social and spiritual growth. Above all, we are beacons of God’s light around the world. We light the way for our students, so that once they graduate, they shine their light for others. We are all Beacons at Valparaiso University.”

The university’s release said that “Beacons was chosen after a months-long process that included nearly 1,000 suggestions and input from dozens of students, student-athletes, faculty, staff and alumni of the University. During this process, two themes emerged that were most important to Valpo constituents: Honoring the University’s history and character and emphasizing the light Valpo graduates shine wherever they land after graduation.”

The new nickname isn’t new to Valparaiso, as the university’s yearbook has been named “Beacon” for the last 80 years. The release also says that many of Valparaiso’s marks and logos will remain part of the school’s brand, and that the new nickname, mascot and imagery will be phased in during the 2021–2022 academic year. 

According to the The Associated Press in February, Valparaiso dropped the Crusaders nickname because groups such as the Ku Klux Klan began using the words and symbols of the Crusades, which were 11th-century wars between Christians and Muslims.

“The negative connotation and violence associated with the Crusader imagery are not reflective of Valpo’s mission and values, which promote a welcoming and inclusive community,” said Colette Irwin-Knott, who was serving as interim president at the time. “This is the decision that best reflects our values and community.

“Valpo is and always has been a faith-based institution, and we want to make sure our symbolism is in alignment with our beliefs and speaks to the core values of the Lutheran ethos. At Valpo, we strive to seek truth, serve generously and cultivate hope. We do not believe having the Crusader as our mascot portrays these values.”

Related content: Valparaiso Drops Hate-Linked ‘Crusaders’ Nickname

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