In celebration of Stockton University’s recent Homecoming University Weekend, this week’s Campus Celebrity is a “talonted” character widely known on campus. This high-spirited bird made many appearances throughout Stockon’s Homecoming events, with many more expected to follow throughout the year. Read on to meet Stockton’s distinctive mascot, Talon the Osprey!
Why is it important for Stockton to have a mascot?A mascot is a symbol that people can associate with something. It’s an identity. Hopefully when people see me, they immediately think “Stockton.” That’s what I’m going for anyway.
What is your favorite part about Stockton and being able to represent it?There are so many great things about Stockton that it’s too hard to pick just one. I really like the students that go here and the people that work here. They make Stockton the great place that it is and I’m so lucky to represent them. Also, the campus is beautiful with all of the trees and trails and Lake Fred. As a bird, I really like nature.
How did you get your name?The students named me! The Stockton Student Senate held a contest to choose my name and Talon was the winner. I’m really glad they picked a name that is different and appropriate for a bird of prey like me.
What do you think is the best thing about having an osprey as a mascot? What makes the osprey distinctive to Stockton?The Osprey mascot is distinctive because only two colleges have one, Stockton and the University of North Florida. Plus, ospreys are indigenous to the Pinelands region where Stockton is located, so I feel right at home here.
How have you evolved as a mascot?I’ve gotten bigger and more handsome over the years. The original mascot was just a small photo of an osprey head. A Stockton graduate named Michael Mezzacappa improved on the mascot with a better drawing in 2000 and I got another makeover a few years ago with the Stockton “S.” Now I’m here, larger than life and with a big personality.
If you weren’t Stockton’s mascot, what would you be doing?Oh, I think I’d probably be living in a nest somewhere in the Pinelands and soaring around the area looking for food.
What does “being Talon” mean to you?First and foremost, being Talon means that I get to represent Stockton and be a symbol for the University. It also means that I get to interact with many, many people and try to have fun with them and make them happy. I like to make people smile, that’s my favorite thing to do.
What is your most treasured memory of an event at Stockton?There are a lot, but I’d say watching the men’s basketball team in 2009 was my favorite. I was in the team picture after they won at The Sports Center to advance to the NCAA Final Four, which is a really big deal. Then I got to go to Salem, Virginia to be with the team for the NCAA national championship game.
Where can you typically be found on campus?I can usually be found at Stockton athletic events and other big events on campus throughout the year.
What are your responsibilities?Talon’s main job is to promote Stockton in a positive way. I try to make people happy, keep their spirits up and cheer for the Ospreys. I like to dance, give out high fives, flap my wings and take pictures with Stockton fans.
What do you do on a typical day?My favorite days are when there are big events and I get to go out and see people and support Stockton. I can usually be found in a crowd of people trying to spread that Stockton spirit!
Is there anything else you would like for the readers of Her Campus to know about?My shirt used to have red trim but in 2010, I got a new shirt with blue trim to match the blue in the Stockton University seal.