UConn to get a new look and a more realistic mascot

STORRS – Seventy-six down, 424 new faculty hires to go. That is the progress University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst said has been made to her number one priority at UConn — make that UCONN.

“We call this initiative Faculty 500 even though that has a weirdly NASCAR-type ring to it,” Herbst said during her state of the university address at noon on Thursday.

Another 35 faculty are expected in the coming months. Herbst named several of the new faculty, swiped from Michigan State, Penn State and elsewhere. She also gave a shout out to current faculty, the university’s grounds crew for clearing all that snow away in February and even to a new effort to rebrand the university.

Sure, UConn isn’t a breakfast cereal, Herbst said (at least until the Husky’s make the cover of a Wheatie’s Box).

But she acknowledged a need to communicate what UConn does in a better fashion.

The bottom line is that our reputation needs to accurately reflect our attributes, and this is especially challenging for an institution that has made dramatic strides within a relatively short period of time, Herbst said.

The university is releasing a new version of its “UConn” logo in a cleaner, all capital font. The new identifier will appear on signage, letterhead, banners, web pages, and more.

It’s not throwing way its traditional oak leaf and the university seal but will use UConn in the same way General Electric uses “GE” and the Parent Teacher Association uses “PTA.”

It is also getting a new husky. The new mascot will look more like a real husky, Herbst promised, but won’t frighten small children.

Linda Lambeck