Photo of College Hall Bell Tower
University News

Montclair Unveils Next-Gen Rocky and Roxy Mascots

New looks will enhance performance and spark greater school spirit

Posted in: Homepage News, University

Rocky the Red Hawk sits atop a bronze Red Hawk statue.
Rocky the Red Hawk mascot is soaring high after his significant upgrade.

Get ready for next-gen Rocky the Red Hawk. Montclair State University’s beloved mascot has undergone a metamorphosis from a fierce bird of prey to a softer, more animated and agile Rocky.

“He’s got a sweet little face. He’s more cartoony and friendlier,” says Vanessa Fingerlin ’24, who performed as Rocky for the past five years. “No shade to the old Rocky.”

Team Rocky Advisor Hannah Lindeblad ’13 agrees, noting that the new Rocky’s eyes are much more animated and cartoon-like. “That’s what students are going to notice first but after they get past that, they’re going to notice that these Rockys have a much higher level of performance.”

Rocky’s little sister Roxy also got a glow-up. “Roxy got a full upgrade. She looks adorable, and I think the campus is really going to like her, too,” says Fingerlin.

Rocky and Roxy in their new costumes.
Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Dawn Meza Soufleris says the new looks capture the “vibrant spirit” and “sense of pride and unity” of Montclair’s campus community. “These updates reflect our ongoing commitment to evolve and strengthen our university’s identity.”

Rocky and Roxy’s fresh new looks will officially debut at Montclair Township’s 4th of July Parade. They’ll occasionally glide across campus this summer but will fly high this fall. Until then, you can follow Rocky and Roxy on Instagram.

The duo underwent major makeovers thanks to Montclair’s Student Government Association, which approved $30,000 to buy three new costumes and accessories.

“I think the new mascots look great,” says SGA Executive President Mikayla Houston. “They add more character and life to Rocky and Roxy, and I think the students, kids and families will really enjoy this new look.”

Out with the old, in with the new:

  • Gone are the hot, heavy matted suits; Rocky’s and Roxy’s suits are more plush, breathable, containing mesh around the torso, head and other areas.
  • Their heads are much lighter and more secure, making it possible for them to show off some serious dance moves.
  • Rocky has two fits – one red and one white, while Roxy has one, including a white and red pleated skirt. They both sport personalized jerseys.
  • Roxy rocks some red eyeshadow, three long lashes and red polish on her taloned yellow feet.
  • Roxy will soon fly the nest and be available to attend student functions, such as womens’ athletic competitions – with or without her big brother.
  • Both are now licensed and trademarked, so there’s no danger of other mascots looking like Montclair’s, something not previously guaranteed.
  • Costumes were custom made by Street Characters of Calgary, Canada.
  • Uncle Roy has retired and moved to Florida but not to fear, as dear Cousin Ricky will still be near.
Members of Montclair’s Student Government Association pose with the new Rocky and Roxy.
The Student Government Association paid for Rocky and Roxy’s refresh. Pictured from left, Executive President Mikayla Houston, Executive Vice President Omayma Jabara, Executive Treasurer Andres Balvin and Executive Secretary Brianna Donnelly.

Lindeblad spearheaded the mascot makeovers, which required two years of research, and is excited to show them off to the campus community. “There’s so much we can do with these two characters, who have proven to help students with the sense of belonging on campus – it’s kind of magical.”

She understands that students will have to adjust to Rocky’s new look. “I think we’ll get a little bit nostalgic, ‘How come you changed it?’ I’m expecting that, and that’s OK but these suits are so much better for so many reasons.”

Student safety was chief among them when Lindeblad and multiple students presented their case to the SGA for funding. “They expressed their concerns with the old Rocky suit and how it is no longer safe or suitable for our students to wear,” says SGA President Houston. “We felt it was necessary to support those students and purchase the new suits.”

Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Dawn Meza Soufleris says she’s thrilled with the new iterations. She commends Director of Student Communications Cindy Meneghin and Lindeblad for their work in hatching the new mascots. She said Meneghin had a “visionary understanding of the importance of strong mascot identities in fostering school spirit and tradition at Montclair,” while Lindeblad “guided this entire process with exceptional leadership, involving students in every decision and truly shaping the new look for Rocky and Roxy.”

Hannah Lindeblad stands between two former students in Rocky and Roxy costumes.
Team Rocky Advisor Hannah Lindeblad ’13, center, poses with former Rocky Taylor Risley ’21 and Roxy Brian Lanigan ’18.

Photo Gallery

Vanessa Fingerlin smiles at the new Rocky costume head.
Vanessa Fingerlin ’24, who performed as the popular mascot for five years was initially a little sus of the new Rocky but now says she’s thrilled with his new look.
Roxy stands beak to beak with a bronze Red Hawk statue.
Roxy shows the Red Hawk statue her new red eyeshadow and black lashes.
People who portrayed the old and new Rockys pose for a group photo.
People who helped introduce the old and new Rockys and Roxys included, from left front: Vanessa Fingerlin ’24 and Brittany Boetticher, graduate coordinator for Student Communications. Middle: Katie Lanigan ’19, Brian Lanigan ’18 (no relation), Taylor Risley ’21; Back: Kyle Kowal ’15, Paul McGroarty ’20 and Team Rocky Advisor Hannah Lindeblad ‘13. Kyle Cashin ’22 is in the Rocky suit.
Five students dressed as Rocky walk across campus.
Rocky through the years, from left, oldest to newest.
Four students dressed as Rocky walk arm-in-arm along the Quad.
Previous Rocky and Roxy costumes will be retired.

Story by Staff Writer Sylvia A. Martinez. Photos by University Photographer Mike Peters and John J. LaRosa.

You May Also Like:

Montclair Mascots Unveil Secret Identities at Commencement 2024