Battling Bishop Mascot Costume Receives a Much-Needed Makeover

By Andrea Misko Strle ’99

Photo illustration by Cheri Theisen.

When the Battling Bishop mascot makes his appearance at the first-ever night game in Selby Field history on September 25, he will be revealing a fresh, new look. After years of use, the current costume is in a severe state of disrepair and will be retired. The costume, marked by a jovial grin, will be replaced by a more dapper Bishop wearing what’s being called a “more determined expression.”

The new look is “more true to our traditional Bishop trademark logo” and replaces a mascot costume that was simply worn out, says Mark Cooper, OWU’s director of Marketing and Communication, who is a member of the advisory committee working on the mascot project.

The Bishop’s more expressive look was developed with the input of several campus offices and student focus groups, including the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA). “They overwhelmingly supported a Bishop mascot that was not grinning, but also not quite as stern as OWU’s trademark logo shows,” Cooper says. “The new Bishop strikes a happy medium between the two.”

The concepts for the new costume and the construction of it were completed by Costume Specialists of Columbus, which has designed and produced many college and high school mascot costumes, including several NCAA Division I universities. The new costume has several features to make it more comfortable for the wearer in warm weather, including a cooling vest and a fan mounted in the head.

But no school mascot is complete without someone inside to pull off its spirited antics. The University is looking for energetic student volunteers to serve, incognito, as the Battling Bishop. Those students will be properly trained in wearing and caring for the costume, and of course, they must have a talent for interacting with people and giving the Bishop his personality.

Dean of Students Kimberlie Goldsberry says she and others on the advisory committee are working on a selection process for identifying students to fill this important role. “One key component that is under discussion, is creating a sense of secrecy around who serves as the Bishop,” Goldsberry says.

Applications should be available within the first weeks of September with auditions shortly thereafter, says Nancy Bihl Rutkowski, assistant director of Student Involvement, who also serves on the committee.

“There is a little bit of Bishop in all of us who love OWU,” she says. “The one who can wear the costume will have a rare opportunity to show the masses that there is nothing like OWU spirit.”