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Published April 09, 2010, 06:21 PM

UND President Says Finding New Nickname Is An Opportunity

University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley says this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to redefine the college.

Sean Lee is one of thousands of students at the University of North Dakota wearing Fighting Sioux apparel today. He says it's a sad day at the university, as students react to the retirement of the nickname and logo.

Lee says, "I'm a very proud Sioux supporter, and I don't intend to change that anytime soon."

UND President Robert Kelley addressed students like Lee today. He says the retirement of the nickname is going to be a difficult process that's not going to happen overnight, and it might impact contributions from some donors.

Kelley says, "I would be just a little too optimistic if I thought that we wouldn't see some modest impact for a short period of time from donors."

But Kelley already has plans to move forward. He's appointed UND Vice President Robert Boyd to lead the school's transition to a new nickname and logo.

Boyd says, "We're going to have to have a very good way of communicating with people and making sure they understand they can be a part of the process."

During a press conference today, Kelley spoke in front of a backdrop with the UND flame logo, which he says will be used during the transition period.

Kelley says, "During that period we'll need some way to brand the university. We already have a very recognized UND flame brand, and I think it's a reasonable judgment to continue to use that very effectively."

As the process to find a new nickname begins, students like Lee hope to be a part of it, saying they've felt left out of the decision to retire the name.

Lee says, "We think that it was a pop decision, and the students weren't properly represented at the state level."

The Standing Rock Tribal Council decided this week not to have a reservation-wide vote on the nickname and logo, but the council agreed to re-visit the issue after the board's decision.

Some people today also voiced their concerns that Standing Rock may still decide in favor of the nickname.

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