Roanoke's Rooney is a Hawk

Rooney, Roanoke College's new Maroon mascot

Rooney, Roanoke College's new Maroon mascot

Salem, Va.-Roanoke College's new Maroon Mascot, Rooney, arrived on campus today to the cheers of Roanoke students and alumni. Rooney, who is a hawk, arrived just in time for Roanoke's Alumni Weekend. The first sighting of the magnificent bird was at the Fridays on the Quad picnic, a Roanoke tradition where students, faculty and alumni meet for dinner outside, with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop. Rooney will spend the rest of the weekend spreading Maroon spirit at Roanoke athletics events and alumni reunions.

The hawk was selected from more than 350 mascot suggestions from students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the College. Several people suggested a hawk mascot and red-tailed hawks are common to this region. Rooney is a "maroon-tailed" hawk - a little known, but clever breed with a special connection to Roanoke College.

Adding a mascot was important to Roanoke College, which prides itself on giving its students a classic college experience.

Rooney's arrival comes at a perfect time for Roanoke College. Roanoke runner Robin Yerkes won a national championship at the NCAA Indoor track competition last month. Roanoke lacrosse teams are both ranked nationally this year. The women's lacrosse team is now ranked #20 by the IWLCA and is leading the ODAC. Men's lacrosse is ranked #2 and won an overtime victory over #5 Washington & Lee Wednesday night to continue the undefeated season - the most wins in a single season ever! The men's and women's track & field teams were ranked in the USTFCCCA Div. III Polls announced this week. The women are ranked #11 while the men sit at #42 in the national poll.

In addition, Roanoke leads the overall competition for the ODAC Commissioner's Cup following the completion of the winter seasons. And Campus Activities Magazine names Roanoke the 2009 Campus of the Year for its student activities programming in the magazine's April issue.

The hawk is a bird that thrives in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The hawk is a classic bird of prey and one that is physically powerful, much like Roanoke athletes. Flying high, the hawk symbolizes achievement. Hawks reach speeds of up to 150 miles an hour when diving toward prey. Rooney tries to keep with the legal speed limits, but admits it can be difficult.

Hawks are known to mate for life, and some species make long migratory journeys, which is a sign of their stamina and strength. Yet they often return to their nesting territory even after migrating, just like Roanoke alumni returning to Salem for Alumni Weekend.

Rooney's popularity is already strong. Even before debuting on campus, over 1000 fans had friended RC Maroons on Facebook to follow Rooney's development.

Visit Rooney's Web site for more information.

Released: April 17, 2009
Contact Name: Public Relations
Contact Phone: (540) 375-2282
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