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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Becoming the Hawk

Alec Kerr had to adjust the costume to fit his 6’7″ frame. PHOTO: Luke Malanga ’20

For senior golfer Alec Kerr, becoming the Hawk for the men’s basketball team has been a dream for almost three years. Ever since he saw a promotional video during his Accepted Students Day, from the then current Hawk, Ian Klinger ’14, discussing the journey to becoming the nationally renowned mascot, he knew it was something he had to do.

“I always thought about it,” Kerr said. “It was last Easter break I saw something on Twitter and I was like ‘no way.’ I actually have the opportunity to literally be the face of the university.”

A young HawkFest attendee high fives Kerr. PHOTO: Mitchell Shields ’22

The process of becoming a Hawk involves a paper application, a recommendation letter from a faculty member, multiple interviews and the creation of a promotional video that captures a candidate’s “flaptitude.”

“I didn’t really have a good idea of what they wanted,” Kerr said. “I went to all the fields, all the notable places on campus with eye black on and all St. Joe’s gear and just started flapping with Gonna Fly Now, the Rocky theme song in the background.”

During the application process, Kerr said he made sure to ready not only his mind, but his body for the role. He said he would often do sets of flaps during his morning routine in order to get the motion down. However, Kerr said he thinks the difference came in the interview room.

“One thing I told them is that I am a social butterfly,” Kerr said. “You can ask anyone. They sometimes hate me for it. They think I stop and talk with people too much. Within the interview they seemed to like that.”

Kerr is the 40th student to don the beak and wings of the St. Joe’s Hawk – a position he said he holds with the utmost respect.

Kerr meets Jim Brennan ’58, the first student to be the Hawk. PHOTO: Luke Malanga ’20

“I think being the Hawk is more than just being a mascot,” Kerr said. “You are representing the core values of the university and being able to do that, I couldn’t be more grateful.”

According to Kerr’s friend Matt Ferry ’20, it was no surprise that Kerr became the new Hawk.

“It is just because of the way he is,” Ferry said. “Out of all my friends he is the one who I would have thought had a legit chance at this. I could see it right away.”

The role of the Hawk can be time consuming. Kerr said that he occasionally has to travel to three separate events in the same day. Juggling the constant demand for the Hawk with golf and academic requirements requires Kerr to put a lot of effort into scheduling his time.

“Freshman year I wasn’t the greatest at time management,” Kerr said. “It was tough for me to handle academics and athletics. As much as I hated that time, I am thankful for it because now I have a great grasp on time management. I am able to handle all three and still have a social life.”

This year the Hawk will play a different role than usual. Up until this year it was tradition for the Hawk to be the manager of the men’s basketball team. This year Kerr won’t assume that role, but will instead work with the athletic department’s marketing team to find new ways to get students out to games.

“I’ve talked about using the Hawk as a marketing tool,” Kerr said. “We need people in seats. The Hawk is more than a suit. You can use it as a way to engage with the student body. That is something I have been just loving.”

PHOTO: Luke Malanga ’20

Director of Athletics Jill Bodensteiner, J.D., knows how important the Hawk is as a symbol of St. Joe’s. She said she is hoping that this year she can get student input on how to improve our beloved mascot going forward.

“Is there something we can do to add a little pizzazz?” Bodensteiner said. “We know we want the Hawk to have a social media presence. To me this is a student driven question so this fall we are going to have student forum, whether it’s the sports marketing club or others, to get some input.”

As Kerr continues with his role, forging his own path as the Hawk, he looks ahead to the events he has scheduled in the coming weeks. One in particular stands out, a wedding with a familiar face at the altar.

“Coming up I have Ian Klinger’s wedding,” Kerr said. “The guy I saw my senior year of high school telling his story as the Hawk, I’ll be working his wedding. That’s pretty neat.”

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