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Welcome to the Garnet Chargers era!

Jul 31, 2023

Learn more about why Union College adopted a new nickname.

The question, first posed last fall at the onset of a larger branding update for the College, was straightforward:

Could Union College develop a nickname – and an accompanying mascot – that would better exemplify Union’s rich history and resonate with current and future students more effectively than the current moniker?

After nearly 10 months of exploration and discussions with stakeholders across the College community, that question has been answered in resounding fashion.

We are proud to introduce today the Union College Garnet Chargers!

Garnet Chargers rose to the top of a field of 400+ unique names offered by more than 1,100 Union students, alumni, faculty, and staff members. Garnet has been Union’s official color for more than 150 years. Chargers harkens to Schenectady’s legacy as a hub for electrical innovation and invention and is an apt metaphor for the high-energy, forward-looking Union College experience.

Combined, they send a powerful message that the Union community has its eyes squarely focused on the future, even as it continues to draw inspiration from its 228-year tradition of excellence.

“I am thrilled to introduce the Garnet Chargers as a powerful new symbol of the Union College experience and community,” said President David R. Harris. “Our process was intentional and inclusive, and we took to heart all the input we received. This entire experience has served as a vivid reminder of just how fortunate we are to have such a passionate and engaged community.”

Garnet Chargers was one of four finalists shared with the Union community in May, the culmination of a process in which approximately two-dozen “semifinalist” names were scored against a set of evaluation criteria established to help guide the selection process.

We then asked for input and the community delivered impressively.

More than 1,000 students, alumni, and employees rated the choices – Garnet Chargers, Garnet Griffins, Garnet Hawks, and Garnet Storm – with many providing written feedback on the options. Garnet Chargers was the clear preference of the Union community, with many citing the name’s tie to Schenectady’s legacy as a leader in electrical technologies as a selling point.

Others praised the name as being an appropriate descriptor for the Union College experience. Or, as one alumni member shared, “the message of Chargers is vibrant and forward-looking while maintaining a connection to the history of Union and Schenectady.”

“The response from our community throughout this process has been both gratifying and instructional, and we could not be more excited to start our journey as Garnet Chargers,” said Mark Land, vice president for communications and marketing. “The Garnet Chargers selection represents a true union of our past success and our ambitious goals for the future.”

Today’s announcement isn’t the end of the work to provide the College with more tools to better represent Union’s history and its focus on the future. A Garnet Chargers mascot is being finalized and will be unveiled this fall, and signage featuring the Garnet Chargers “Bolt U” logo and wordmark will be showing up on campus in the coming weeks.

In addition, an initial selection of Garnet Chargers merchandise is available at the Union Athletics online retail site now and will be available at the Union Bookstore soon.

“To all those who shared their ideas and their passion throughout this process, a huge ‘thank you!’ Harris said. “Go Garnet Chargers! Go U!