How we became the Chaparrals


It all started in the 1960s. LCU, but LCC at the time, was known as the Pioneers. As reported in an essay in LCU’s 60th anniversary book, “Pioneering spirit, extraordinary faith,” students and faculty of LCC came up with this mascot from a line in the school song, which states “Hail to our own Lubbock Christian, modern pioneers.”

LCC kept the Pioneers as its mascot for three years, until someone spoke up about possibly changing it. It then went into further discussion by the student body, faculty, and supporters. During this debate, LCC student Sara Lenard presented the side for not changing the mascot and Fred Barnes, another student, presented on why it should be changed.

Sara’s argument was that the alumni were already known as the Pioneers, and that changing the school ring would be a challenge, since it would involve breaking a contract that would cost LCC $600.

Fred’s argument for changing the mascot was that another school not far from LCC was also known as the Pioneers – that school was Wayland College (now Wayland Baptist University). He argued that this would be an ongoing problem until something was done, stating “the problem does not lie in the students and their personal feelings, but in the good of the school and its future.”

The conclusion to these arguments was announced by then president Dr. F. W. Mattox: There was no need for a mascot change. The reasoning for a change was deemed not strong enough.

The next call to change the mascot was in 1964 by LCC students who didn’t know about the first attempt. When the idea surfaced, the students were pointed to an article in “The Duster,” then the students started researching this topic. They talked with Jim Ravanelli, who was the LCC Student Senate president at the time of the first mascot incident and was now working at the school.

According to the essay in the 60th anniversary book, Ravanelli told the students that to change the mascot they needed a different strategy. His recommended focusing on two points: 1) What is the most important reason to change the mascot? and 2) What would be a unique alternative mascot?

To answer the first question, they decided to focus on how many surrounding schools share a mascot similar to the Pioneer (turns out there were many others)and how LCC should be different from other schools. For the second question, they focused on how the new mascot should be something original, simple to draw and representative of the school’s spirit, as well as maybe having a live mascot.

Within two weeks, the student body, faculty, and alumni had decided the new mascot of LCC would be a Chaparral, which is known for its intelligence and speed. A voting process was held in chapel. When the votes came in there were 269 votes for the Chaparral and 51 votes to keep the Pioneer.

In 1964 they submitted the change to the LCC Board of Trustees for approval. The board said the student and alumni should pick the mascot, so the deed was done. And the Chaparral still stands as the LCU mascot today.






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  1. New to the school and wondered about everyone using sign language for “preach”, now I see it was simply meant to look like a bird’s head. Too bad. Neat, however, to read of the conscientious and forward-thinking of students past.

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