This archived article was written by: Scott Froehlich
Since 2010, when the College of Eastern Utah merged with the Utah State University, there has been an unspoken understanding amongst the administrations at both colleges that the Price campus would one day adapt to the “Aggie” nickname. USU Eastern Chancellor, Joe Peterson, explained the proposal. “So, the whole thing is pretty complicated. It’s a process, something that grows,” he said.
Although the planned change was recently discussed in panels with a few students, and presentations to the Eagle faculty and staff, the idea has been lingering for just shy of a decade. “It’s time [that we embrace the nickname]. We’ve been kind of latent ‘Aggies;’ it’s time that we embrace our ‘Aggie-ness,’” he said.
Peterson discussed “embracing the change,” and shared an analogy likening the USU’s “Aggie,” to McDonald’s “Golden Arches.”
In the analogy, a McDonald’s restaurant in Price inserted an image of a miner inside of the arches and the food having names as “McMiner” or “Egg McMiner.” “If you were driving down the road, and saw the McDonald’s ‘M,’ and you saw that it had a miner in one of the arches…you’d say, ‘Well that’s different. I wonder if the food’s different too?’ In some ways, our having an Eagle is like putting a miner in the McDonald’s ‘M.’”
He also pointed to the success of the Price campus, since it became a USU extension. “We are seeing more and more people who are attracted to the Price campus because it’s a part of USU,” he said.
As a result of this positive effect, he expressed optimism towards the potential assimilation between the Logan and Price schools.
“One of the things I’m hoping, [is that] there will be greater avenues between both campuses. Students here will go through their college experience, thinking of themselves as Aggies. [It would] be a very natural thing to go continue as an Aggie at another campus,” Peterson said.
The one area that would remain affiliated with the Eagles, however, is athletics. While the regular school apparel and other USU-related supplies would feature the block “A,” or the Aggies’ bull, the athletic gear and clothing would retain the Eagles name and logo.
Peterson acknowledges that there will be confusion amongst prospective students and their parents, with the Aggie nickname cohabitating with the Eagles mascot. He then pointed to other colleges in the area that already have the same distinction. In addition to the Aggies, and their bull mascot, other colleges such as the University of Utah have a nickname (Utes) that differs from their team’s mascot (Swoop, a red-tailed hawk).
With all these changes in mind, there will certainly be some backlash, especially from the community.
However, Chancellor Peterson believes that the positive effects outweigh the negatives in the long run.
“[We have] had a legacy of being the College of Eastern Utah, [and we should] honor the traditions. Yet [we should also] position [ourselves] to move forward, and take advantage of the association [we] have as part of a great university,” he said.
Considering that the college has existed in Price since 1937, and the Eagle has been the nickname and mascot for 80 years, there are likely to be some feathers ruffled. “There’s ambivalence; all of us here have reasons why we wish it would be this way, and reasons why we wish it would be that way,” Peterson said.
The discussion of integrating the Aggie nickname into USU Eastern’s “ecosystem” is still in its infancy, and there will more than likely be more discussions in the future. Only time will tell how the community will react to the news once it becomes more widely-known. While some may see the change as an opportunity to fully become a part of the Utah State University family, others will likely see it as a departure from Price’s history and rural heritage.