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NOVA Mascot Project

  • 50th Anniversary Masthead

We have a new mascot: the NOVA Nighthawk!

NOVA Nighthawk Mascot
Look for the Nighthawk appearing in campus bookstores and on NOVA athletic fields.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, NOVA began the process to identify a mascot that would reflect institutional pride and personify school spirit as part of NOVA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. NOVA’s students, faculty and staff were invited to enter up to three possible names through an online suggestion box. Criteria for the naming of the NOVA mascot included:

  • Exemplify the best of NOVA.
  • Represent an element of the Northern Virginia region.
  • Easily generate powerful and memorable imagery, such as the George Mason Patriots.
  • Avoid gang, fighting and racist names.
  • Avoid duplication of names used by the Virginia and NJCAA Region 20 college and notable regional universities.

Hundreds of suggestions were submitted.

Next, a representative student committee reviewed all of the submissions to determine the top choices. The scoring criteria for the screening committee to rank the mascot name nominations included:

  • Name that exemplifies the best of NOVA. (1-20 points)
  • Nickname is not that of another Virginia community college, notable regional university or NJCAA Region 20. (1-4 points)
  • Is easily relatable to energizing imagery. (1-4 points)
  • Lends itself to action-oriented language for fun, engaging messaging. (1-4 points)
  • Has regional significance or includes alliteration. (1-4 points)

The top five choices were placed on a ballot for voting. Nighthawk was the winner.  

Once the nighthawk name was selected in Spring 2015, students from the Alexandria Campus Communications Design program designed several mascot logos. Five designs were selected to be placed on a ballot and NOVA students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to vote for their favorite design.

NOVA student Jennifer Bradley’s design won. The winning design was finalized in Fall 2015.