Mass. Christian College Adopts New Mascot; Drops 'Crusaders'

A Christian college in Massachusetts heralded in a new mascot this week in response to the changing connotation of its previous mascot.

As of Wednesday, the athletic teams of Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy will be known as the ENC Lions and not the Crusaders, the liberal arts college announced during an event celebrating its seniors' upcoming commencement.

"When ENC and many other Christian colleges first adopted the Crusader mascot, the term was perceived much more positively," said ENC President Corlis McGee, according to the college.

"In today's world, the term often carries a negative connotation, and there was a growing awareness among ENC students, faculty and alumni that the Crusader no longer represented the positive message of Christian love we aim to share with the world," he added.

Other schools that have also retired their former Crusaders mascot include Billy Graham's alma mater, Wheaton College in Illinois, and Point Loma Nazarene University in California, among others.

In the college's announcement, McGee highlighted the new mascot, the lion, as a symbol of courage and strength.

"I think the very fact that ENC was willing to explore the mascot issue, and to open a dialogue on the subject, exemplifies the strengths of a Christian liberal arts education," he added.

Located on Boston's historic south shore, Eastern Nazarene College is one of nine liberal arts colleges supported by the International Church of the Nazarene in the United States and Canada, and one of 160 members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).

ENC has about 1,200 students distributed across a traditional residential undergraduate program, adult studies, and a graduate program. Over 30 denominations are represented.