The thunderbird will remain the mascot of Southern Utah State College, but a new visual interpretation has been adopted.
A major reason for a new depiction of the thunderbird was the college's desire to be sensitive to the religious beliefs of certain American Indian tribes. To those tribes, the thunderbird represents deity, the power behind thunder and lightning."It was our fear that in our use of the mascot, we might be considered an institution insensitive to the religious beliefs of others, or worse, mocking those beliefs," said Gerald R. Sherratt, college president.
The new thunderbird is depicted in a way that is different from Indian depictions "to hopefully avoid having our thunderbird identified with the sacred bird of the Indian religions," Sherratt said.