SMC unveils updated designs for mascot

Published 12:41 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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DOWAGIAC — Ronnie Roadrunner has returned to Southwestern Michigan College.

In conjunction with SMC rejoining the National Junior College Athletic Association and the return of its cross country program, the school unveiled Ronnie’s updated design in a press release last Thursday.

“We’ve always had Ronnie,” said SMC Marketing Manager Michelle Orlaske. “The previous logo was getting dated and needed a refresh. With the start of athletics, we went back to feedback and we knew we wanted to change some things.”

Orlaske and Vice President Mike O’Brien collaborated with Brian Berkins of DDM Marketing and Communications in Grand Rapids to create two designs for Ronnie — a traditional design primarily for athletics and a more animated design to be used for club sports and student activities.

“We requested a few things for the new design,” she said. “We wanted to move away from orange in the previous version to green and gold. The intention was to represent the college’s school colors, rejuvenating school spirit. The logos also had to include the same characteristics as an actual roadrunner. This was achieved through the more streamlined body, turned-down beak, elongated tail, plume on top of the head and slimmer legs with claw-like feet. We also wanted the bird to show some determination and fierceness, but not be overly mean or angry-looking.”

According to Orlaske, the designs went through five revisions and received feedback from both SMC employees and students.

“We wanted somebody who was a great hand-drawn illustrator,” she said. “The designer was able to give Ronnie three dimensional features. That’s what we were really looking for.”

Merchandise featuring the new Ronnie is available at the on-campus bookstore or at

SMC Executive Director of Campus Life Jeff Hooks hopes that the new and improved Ronnie Roadrunner will serve to boost school spirit throughout the SMC campus.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” he said. “Mascots are a great visual representation of school spirit. I’m glad we’ll be using it more so we can build campus traditions. I’m looking forward to seeing more merchandise. That will be nice.”

With the design completed, the next step is to order the mascot costume.

“We got to see the samples of what he will be made out of,” Orlaske said. “It was a really fun process to see how much the design evolved.”

While its debut hasn’t been set in stone, Orlaske expects the Ronnie Roadrunner mascot to make one of its first appearances at SMC’s first home cross country meet next year.

“It’s going to be a good addition,” she said. “We hope to have Ronnie present when we have big events at the college post-COVID. We’d really like to get Ronnie out into the community. It’s great that we will be able bring Ronnie out to the community to show the college’s school spirit and help him get involved.”