How Does the Fighting Phoenicians Sound?

6 Jun

In a few hours, we will be at the Phoenix Ball, the annual fundraising gala for my alma mater and my employer. It is a fun-filled affair with women in their gowns and men doing their best James Bond imitations.

It is called the Phoenix Ball because, during the Civil War, the campus of Cumberland University was burned. In decades that followed, classes were held in various buildings around town. It was not until the 1890s that another campus was established.

Because the university “rose from the ashes” the Phoenix has become the symbol of the university. The mythical creature can be found on our letterhead, on our athletic uniforms and in some stained glass.Phoenix

This confuses a lot of people because our mascot is the Bulldog. In other words, the Cumberland Bulldogs walk around with birds on their shirts. On more than one occasion, opposing fans will ask someone what that is all about.

The bulldog is a common mascot for college teams, but our dog has a story behind it. In the old days, Cumberland University had a prominent law school. Cordell Hull was one of its graduates. If you have never heard of him, then I bet you have heard about one of his creations – the United Nations. He also helped create the federal income tax, but we will not discuss that sordid episode.

Anyway, there was a time when an old bulldog hung around the law school and became the student pet. There is a contentious debate about where this dog is buried, but there is not debate that it continues to be our mascot.

However, should that tradition continue? In my opinion, it is time to make a change. The Phoenix symbolizes the history, strength and perseverance of the university, and, as I have written, it has become part of our everyday fabric.

Besides, there are a bunch of Bulldogs out there. It is one of the most common mascots in the land. Let us stand out with something unique. After all, how many universities are known as the Phoenix? Or, the Fighting Phoenicians? Or, the Fighting Phoenix? Or, the Phoenixes?

Heck, this may be more complicated than I thought.

6 Responses to “How Does the Fighting Phoenicians Sound?”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong June 7, 2015 at 02:13 #

    Personally, I like the fighting Phoenicians. But I can understand why that might not be to everyone’s taste.

    • Rick June 7, 2015 at 04:26 #

      They can get over it. I think it’s cool.

      • Marilyn Armstrong June 7, 2015 at 04:40 #

        I think it’s cool too. They could all wear Phoenician style helmets. Very cool indeed.

  2. Lunar Euphoria June 7, 2015 at 13:50 #

    What a rich history and apt symbol! I vote “Yes!” to Phoenicians. For whatever that’s worth.

    • Rick June 7, 2015 at 14:10 #

      It’s worth a lot in my book. There is a little more history to be explored in future posts.


  1. The Great Phoenix Debate | SBI: A Thinning Crowd - January 29, 2016

    […] Cumberland University, the place where I work and where I have received a couple of degrees. The first post related my opinion that our mascot should be changed from the Bulldog to the Phoenix. The second […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: