As Virginia Wesleyan University continues to expand and evolve over time, many changes will take place. In recent years, we have seen new buildings, such as the Greer Environmental Sciences Center and the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, rise up with many more to come. We have also seen many changes to campus policies in order to accommodate our growing student population. Many changes are still to come in the near future.
One of the most recent changes that has everyone talking is the recent update to our beloved mascot, Bob Marlin. The marlin has been a symbol of Virginia Wesleyan since its founding. It is symbolic of our location as well as our fierce determination to rise above expectations. I, myself, find the marlin to be a creative mascot and love one of our school’s old mottos: “Fear the fish.” This phrase has always sounded so epic to me every time I said it. Some may say it sounds ridiculous to fear a fish, but do not let the simplicity of the words fool you; we are a school that is determined to live up to expectations.
The changes mainly revolve around the complete redesign of Bob Marlin. He got a fresh look with a complete overhaul. The new design takes on a more realistic form than the previous incarnation. In the past, Bob Marlin had fierce look on his face, baring sharp teeth and pointing his long nose at whoever challenged him. It was this incarnation that created the “fear the fish” motto that so many people recognize. The new and improved design uses the same color scheme, but changes the expression on Bob’s face. He no longer has his iconic sharp-toothed expression, but now sports a sleeker, more realistic appearance.
Now I know what you might asking yourself: why would they make a mascot more realistic? What is the point of this? In recent weeks, I’ve heard many students ask why the school would change the mascot. I have my own theory. The new Bob Marlin is supposed to represent the beginning of a new era for Virginia Wesleyan as a whole. As I said earlier, Virginia Wesleyan is going through many changes as it expands and grows. Instead of clinging to a more imagination-inspired design, they voted to evolve Bob Marlin into a symbol of the school’s growth. We are no longer just dreaming of growth, we are growing; we are becoming a school worthy of being known as coastal Virginia’s premier university for the liberal arts and sciences.
Do not misunderstand, this change took me by surprise when the new images were shared with us by Dr. Miller a few short months ago. At first, I had my own mixed feelings and reservations about the new Bob Marlin. Then I thought to myself, can we let our beloved marlin change? I racked my brain about this for a while and eventually came to the realization that change is necessary for the university to continue down this path towards its future. Change is a hard concept to deal with, but is a concept that we need. The changes to the school may not be going as fast as some of us may want and some of us are frustrated at the new policies the school has implemented, but we cannot expect the school to change whenever we snap our fingers. Considering reactions to the new Bob Marlin, immediate change is not necessary, but patience from us, as students, is. To wrap up my entire point, yes, I did not immediately approve of the marlin, but have long since accepted it and have embraced it as a sign of things to come at Virginia Wesleyan University.