His face has been in print for 90 years: this year the Fordham Ram gets a makeover. The fiercer, more robust Ram makes his debut this season, marking Fordham’s resurgence and its bid to become the nation’s top Catholic university.
The new Ram has already made his appearance on the floor of the Rose Hill Gymnasium, on merchandise and in some University publications, and Fordham will debut a new mascot at Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 25, when the Rams take on the Lafayette Leopards at Jack Coffey Field.
“The new Ram says Fordham,” said Frank McLaughlin, the University’s athletics director. “It’s a fresh take on the logo, and you can see that it’s bigger and more muscular than the older versions, and really captures the spirit of Fordham sports. It’s something our athletes can rally behind.”
The new logo has a primary design, the Ram rampant over the word “Fordham,” a secondary design with the Ram’s head and a block letter “F,” and two additional designs: the Ram rampant and the Ram’s head without lettering. The variety of images gives Fordham some flexibility in marketing and merchandising.
The introduction of the new Ram coincides with the 125th anniversary of Fordham football and the 150th anniversary of Fordham baseball. The creative firm that developed the new Ram, Phoenix Design Works, was charged with creating a new look that was distinctively Fordham’s, but which based on the University’s traditional renderings. Phoenix Design Works has created logos and mascots for Harvard University, the Louisiana State University Tigers and the Arkansas Razorbacks, among many others.
The Ram has a long history at Fordham. During an 1893 football game against the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Fordham student section started the University’s first organized school cheer: “One dam, two dams, three dams, FORDHAM!” Although it was an immediate hit, Jesuit faculty members quickly put the kibosh on the new cheer, saying such behavior was unbecoming of a Fordham gentleman. Students quickly substituted “ram” for the offending word. For the next 11 years, Fordham’s athletics teams were unofficially known as the Rams until composer John Ignatius Coveney, a 1906 Fordham graduate, put a lasting imprimatur on the mascot in 1904, when he wrote the words and composed the music to “The Ram,” the University’s fight song.
The first illustrated rendition of the Ram didn’t appear in a University publication until 1918 with the debut of The Ram, Fordham University’s student newspaper. In the paper’s first issue, editors printed a sketch of the Fordham mascot. It would take another 75 years for the University to release the first copyrighted version of the team mascot, which the Office of Public Affairs designed in 1993 and subsequently used on official University publications, advertising, clothing and merchandise. The last update of the Ram was just prior to the kickoff of the 2000 football season.