Georgia Southern University launched a new brand and merchandise line last week that will benefit and honor Freedom, the university’s bald eagle mascot who flies onto the field before each home game at Paulson Stadium.
“Freedom belongs to Georgia Southern students, faculty, the Statesboro community and all those he encounters” said Steve Hein, executive director of the university’s Center for Wildlife Education. “It’s natural to want to express a unique relationship spanning 20 years and what better way to do this than by making his image available for people to wear and promote. I’m excited about this program, honored to be his plus-one, and greatly appreciate everyone’s support for Freedom, his care and his future.”
To support Freedom and the university’s Center for Wildlife Education, the new line of merchandise that features Freedom will include a shirt dubbed “Freedom’s Ride” that depicts Freedom perched in the back of Hein’s 1977 International Scout.
Unable to survive on his own because of an injury to his beak as a newborn, Freedom came to Georgia Southern in 2004 and now lives at the Center for Wildlife Education alongside other eagles, raptors, reptiles and waterfowl. He will celebrate his 20th birthday in December.
As an ambassador for Georgia Southern, Freedom has inspired thousands annually at the Wildlife Center, Georgia Southern football games, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah, commencements, community events, the Kiwanis Fair Parade and other appearances, such as at the Charles Swab Classic PGA tour event earlier this year in Texas.
Freedom’s merchandise line came about as a collaboration of the university’s Communications and Marketing Dept., Georgia Southern’s office of Athlete Brand Management and Licensing, the Wildlife Center and other GS retail partners
According to a release from Georgia Southern, merchandise depicting Freedom is now available and proceeds from sales will benefit the Wildlife Center and Freedom’s care. Items are now for sale at Southern Exchange, near the Georgia Southern campus in Statesboro and will be available soon at the University Store on the Statesboro campuses and in the gift shop at the Wildlife Center located on the Statesboro Campus.