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SOU Raiders are no longer Red

When I attended Southern Oregon College, we were the Red Raiders. When was the "Red" dropped and when did the Red-Tailed Hawk become the new mascot? — Larry B., Medford

Larry, this is Part II of your lonnnnnng question (Part I ran Jan. 24) about our local college. This one comes with a shorter answer that has a few holes in it, but covers the essentials, kinda like some of our Since You Asked monogrammed blue jeans.

As with the first answer, we owe much of the information to Ryan Brown, director of community and media relations for SOU, and he credits the book "Remembering: A History of Southern Oregon University" by Arthur Kreisman, published in 2002. 

The college's original mascot was a Viking, and the name Red Raiders came into being during the 1946-47 school year, following the World War II years when there were no athletic teams. The student body officially voted to change the mascot from a Viking to an American Indian in the 1954-55 year.

Ahead of its time, the college decided to drop the Indian mascot as well as the "Red" in Red Raiders in 1980. If you wonder why, we would refer you to news stories involving the Washington Redskins. The Red-Tailed Hawk became the mascot in 1997, and the current hawk logo was introduced in 2011.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.