(WIVB)–D’Youville College is taking on a new mascot, but it wasn’t a decision they took lightly. They conducted a year-long survey and held focus groups with alumni, students and staff — about what being a Spartan means to them.

“It’s clear that our stakeholders don’t really know what the spartans mean to them, and they also want something that they really identify with and D’Youville’s heritage and our mission is to never refuse to serve,” said Ona Halladay, director of intercollegiate athletics.

Out of hundreds of responses, they decided on the “Saints,” because it represents Saint Marie Marguerite D’Youville, who’s the patron saint of the Grey Nuns who founded the collge back in 1908 The college also chose it, because it’s inclusive and welcoming to people from diverse backgrounds.

The change also represents an evolution of the college’s athletic department. The department recently applied for NCAA Division II membership.

“So we’re going through a lot of changes right now, in terms of athletics and who we are, and who we want to be. so it really was the perfect opportunity to dive in on the study to make sure this was the right direction to go,” Halladay said.

The college says,they’ll roll out an image of the mascot, so we’ll know what it looks like in the coming days.

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.