In the Spring of 2005, the Marquette Board of Trustees began to discuss the possibility of changing the Marquette athletic team name from Golden Eagle, back to its historic and beloved name of “Warriors”.
Upon researching the idea with local Indian tribes, the BoT came to the conclusion that even if the logo for “Warriors” was some sort of European fighter type Warrior, it was forever linked to Indian connotations. MU discussed the issue with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, who decided they would be offended if the Warrior name returned to Marquette in any form.
In May of 2005, the MU BoT met and voted to not return to the Warrior name. As an alternative, they were presented with the concept of the “Marquette Gold” and adopted it. When this news was announced, the Marquette community's reaction was unanimously negative. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel held an online vote where over 90% were unhappy with the “Gold”. An additional vote pegged support for “Warriors” at over 90%.
After an on-campus protest, hundreds of angry letters to the university, and thousands of Internet messages, the University decided to have an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees to find a way out of the mess.
The BoT formed a plan to vote on the new name. Students, alumni, and faculty were given the opportunity to provide possible names, then a first round vote narrowed the decision to two, for a final vote. Much to the dismay of most alumni, “Warriors” was specifically eliminated from any round of voting. The final two choices were Golden Eagles, and Hilltoppers., with Golden Eagles winning 54% to 46% with over 35,000 total votes.
When all was said and done, 54% of the 35,000 votes were cast to remain the Golden Eagles, which ended the long and painful public relations disaster.