We received more than 200 unique suggestions for monikers; many were suggested by multiple people. The subcommittee spent considerable time discussing each submission, considering how well it met the selection criteria: 

  • Demonstrate Kenyon’s values of intellectual empowerment and creativity; embracing differences; kindness, respect and integrity; enduring connections to people and place.

  • Celebrate Kenyon’s history and traditions.

  • Support Kenyon athletics’ mission to foster learning and build community by focusing on citizenship, competition, resiliency, sportsmanship and teamwork.

The subcommittee advanced only submissions that, in their shared view, meet the criteria without reservation. If a suggestion does not reflect our value of embracing differences, it was not advanced. 

The options for vote, with summary reasoning, are:


Before we were known as anything else, we were Kenyon. Our teams have competed under various nicknames, and sometimes under no moniker at all, but through it all, Kenyon has been a constant. Our uniforms sport a “K,” for Kenyon. Crowds cheer our athletes on by chanting, “Go Kenyon!” Kenyon has always been the most important part of our name.


Gambier Hill and the Kokosing Valley are practically synonymous with the mighty oaks that anchor the landscape. Oak trees are strong and enduring; like Kenyon student-athletes, they stand proud and resilient. 


“Old Kenyon, we are like Kokosing.” The Kokosing River wraps around campus, at the base of Gambier Hill, and has inspired students and alumni since Kenyon’s early days. Translating to “River of Little Owls,” the name “Kokosing” commemorates the many native species of owls living in the area. Owls are wise, swift, and fierce — like Kenyon student-athletes.


The double meaning of the word “rook” speaks to the intricacies of the student-athlete’s experience. A rook is a member of the corvid family, a bird known for its intelligence and ability to work together. But a rook is also a chess piece whose powers increase as the game progresses (and whose unmistakable castle silhouette would be at home on Kenyon’s campus). Both meanings — intelligence and teamwork in life, or power and skill in competition — are essential parts of the Kenyon student-athlete’s experience.


Many generations of students arrived at Kenyon and then departed as new alumni by singing “The Thrill,” Kenyon’s alma mater. We sing about “the thrill of spirit” that all alumni feel, as our love of Kenyon unifies, and never dies. The Thrill captures this spirit on the field as well, as student-athletes work together, in high endeavor, pursuing a common goal.