Gannon University is changing the future of the schooling. For 90 years, the Golden Knight has been the mascot of the university, but a press conference this morning revealed that the graceful yet endangered Gray Manatee will now uphold the image of Gannon.

A small committee that had been deliberating on the matter for the past year made this decision. Leading the committee was Monsignor Dugong, 13th president of Gannon University. He said, “The decision was motivated by an overuse of the word ‘Knight’.” After the so-called “Knight” puns had become what he called “unbearable,” Dugong moved to create a self-described “manatee-committee” to bring an end to the outrageous play on words.

A manatee was chosen as the mascot for various reasons. Because Erie is neither British nor medieval, the committee thought it might be time for a more relevant mascot to represent the school. Professor of Biology, Dr. Mer, Ph. D., resides on the committee, he said, “We initially wanted to make reference to being on the lake by choosing a perch or walleye.” Keeping in mind the new Ruskin campus, the committee chose a more tropical, water-dwelling creature.

“Plus,” Dr. Mer added, “who doesn’t love a good manatee?”

Dugong said that students would be encouraged to listen to the sounds of manatees while they study. Some studies say the soothing tones of the water animal have been linked to higher test scores. Dugong said, “We are not making this decision lightly. The manatee was deliberately chosen to improve the academic environment that the students reside in.”

The connotation of the knight can have a negative and violent impression, whereas the history of the manatee shows that it’s a nurturing species. Decades ago when sailors had been at sea for long periods of time, they would often mistake manatees for mermaids. “We on the committee believe that manatees were mistaken for the fictitious creature because of their unmatched beauty and human-like qualities,” Mer said.

Applications for the Gannon Gray Manatee mascot will go out tomorrow. Applicants must be between 4’9” and 5’3” and weigh at least 200 lbs.

The celebration of the Manatee mascot will be held annually on April 1.