Marty Makeover: History, Why Now, and Next Steps

Kayla May, Staff Writer

As many of you hopefully saw in your emails, our Mascot, Marty, is getting a makeover. The Belltower was able to sit down with Nate Peters, the Vice President of the Office of Marketing and Communications, to discuss the details of this makeover.

First, it is important to know the why of it all. Why is Marty so important to Saint Martin’s community? What value does Marty bring to the campus? He answered by giving a brief history lesson and explaining the significance Marty has to our university’s culture.

The university’s namesake is Saint Martin of Tours, originally a soldier in the Roman army. A legend is told of Martin coming up upon a shivering beggar in the cold; he split his cloak in two to share his warmth with the beggar. In a dream, Martin received a vision where the beggar revealed himself as Jesus Christ. This experience is what inspired him to leave the army, pursue his faith, and become a monk, teacher, and, eventually, bishop in the Catholic Church.

He dedicated his life to helping others. A life full of actions that reflect the Benedictine values of hospitality, community living, and respect for persons, values we still uphold and practice at the university today.

Peters explained that when they were going through a rebranding for athletics in 2019, they used focus groups and surveys within the community to determine their new mascot. Ultimately, the community wanted to keep Marty as the remaining mascot.

Peters articulated that the history of having a Roman soldier as our mascot is a direct nod to our Catholic tradition and heritage of what Saint Martin’s is all about. He elaborates by stating, “that right there is big piece of why Marty is such an important piece of Saint Martin’s. Because again, it’s a nod to our history.”

Marty the Saint has significant meaning to the university, which is exactly why they are going through with this makeover. When asked why the marketing department decided to do a makeover now, Peters’ first question was, “Have you seen Marty?”, and then preceded to describe how the costume is practically falling apart at the seams.

Marty is a symbol of pride and school spirit and represents our school’s namesake and history, which is why he should look presentable and put together. “The number one reason why we’re moving forward is because this mascot costume just can’t keep up,” Peters told me.

The survey is just the first step in revamping Marty’s look. The survey was sent out to 8,600 people, including students, staff, faculty, and alumni, and has already gotten 350 responses as of this weekend. It is short, with only four questions, and its main goals are to A) get people excited about getting a new Marty costume and B) start asking people what kind of mascot “vibes” they want Marty to have.

This makeover is more than just giving Marty a facelift. “As we’re looking to energize our campus community, energize our students, get our alumni back on campus and really try to get people together and recognize and be proud of the Saint Martin’s University brand, one way to do that is through a mascot,” Peters explained.

The ultimate goal is to engage Marty and the community more and make his presence more prominent on campus. They are looking to get two different Marty costumes, one for athletic-focused events and the other for PR/media events and photo-ops.

Peters wanted to emphasize that although they want to make everyone happy and pleased with the new mascot look, “it’s hard to appeal to everybody.” He goes on to express, “our team is working hard to work with the majority and make sure that everyone has input, and everyone is heard, and then we make decisions based on what the community wants.”

Moving forward, the marketing department is planning on doing a second survey, hopefully before commencement and finals week, and hopes to have a new costume in hand by the time the ’23-’24 school year begins in late August.

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