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A new new Billiken? SLU says it listened to critics

The new Billiken mascot introduced in September 2016.
Bill Barrett/provided by SLU

The new Saint Louis University mascot is turning out to be a lot like New Coke.

After the revamped Billiken was introduced last month to a barrage of criticism, with adjectives like “petrifying,” “terrifying” and “the laughing stock of the nation,” SLU President Fred Pestello took to Twitter Tuesday to hint broadly that the new Billiken is in for big changes.

The Twitter video has Pestello visiting the St. Louis Zoo, clipboard in hand, and asking animals from a seal to penguins to a reluctant lion for input on what revisions should be made.

Traits he asks about include being lovable, popular, entertaining, competitive and unique.

“I can’t wait to bring the new Billiken mascot here,” Pestello concludes. ”I think I know what we need to do now. Stay tuned.”

The video closes with the words: “We listened.”

A SLU spokesman confirmed that the university is “pursuing changes to the mascot,” though the new Billiken logo will remain unchanged. He said there is no timetable yet and the school is still researching possible options.

Follow Dale on Twitter: @dalesinger

Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters, who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren. Dale reported for St. Louis Public Radio from 2013 to 2016.