Schenectady County Community College hopes its sports teams create a duck dynasty.
After 45 years, the college has finally named a mascot — “Royal the Duck.” The duck will be gender-neutral, will not wear any pants and will always have its beak open, according to initial design concepts.
SCCC athletic teams — known as the Royals — believe they will force opponents to duck and cover, especially when Royal the Duck waddles onto the field, flapping its wings.
Royal will wear a royal blue T-shirt with “SCCC” written across the front in yellow letters. He will wear that shirt — with no pants — while cheering on the Royals, swimming in the Mohawk River and flying above downtown Schenectady.
Royal the Duck was created by SCCC freshman Luis Martinez. His submission beat other students’ ideas, such as a lion or an owl, with unanimous approval in May by the SCCC Student Government Association Senate.
Why choose a duck? Martinez says the duck symbolizes flexibility and freedom.
“Ducks can adapt with the climate, which for us can be hot or cold, dry or wet,” a resolution proposing the mascot states. “Ducks are free to roam land, swim in water, and soar in the sky. Many cultures believe the duck is a symbol of eternal life.”
Royal the Duck was officially made the school’s mascot Monday by the SCCC board of trustees. Royal will hatch just in time for the college’s 45th anniversary in September.
“It’s a fun and energizing mascot,” said Ann Fleming Brown, who was named the new board chairwoman Monday. “The costume will be locally designed and was created by one of our very own students. We can’t wait to see it.”
The image released of Royal the Duck is a very early version of what he would look like. The college is in discussions with The Costumer, a company in Schenectady, reviewing options for the mascot costume.
SCCC has several varsity athletic teams — men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s bowling, women’s crew and men’s baseball. Royal will be at all of their games, quacking away.
Royal is the first duck mascot among the State University of New York’s 64 campuses. But other colleges also embrace the duck, including the University of Oregon, Stevens Institute of Technology and Evergreen State College.
The Oregon Duck is the mascot of the University of Oregon athletic program and is based on Disney’s famous Donald Duck character. The duck is known as the Fighting Duck or Puddles. Puddles also does not wear pants.
And don’t forget about the Anaheim Ducks, a professional ice hockey team in California, the Long Island Ducks, a professional baseball team in New York and the Akron RubberDucks, a minor league baseball team in Ohio.
“We wanted something that was original and not being used by any other community college,” said Martha Asselin, acting president of SCCC. “So Royal the Duck was a good match. And the duck was a fun choice.”