June 16, 2024

Featured Falcons: Freddie the Falcon

Freddie the Falcon here! They say birds of a feather flock together, and nowhere is that more true than at the University of Montevallo. When you join the Falcon family, you join generations of people that decided to spread their wings and fly and landed here on these beloved bricks. But how exactly did we become the Falcons, and where do I come into this story?
Freddie the Falcon on a golf cart
It all started in 1959, back when UM was still known as Alabama College. Up until then, our school only had two sports — basketball and golf — and the teams were often called “the Purples” in the local news. The Alabamian, our student newspaper, held a contest to select a nickname and mascot, offering a $25 prize to the person or organization that submitted the best nickname and 50-word essay supporting their pick.

An undergraduate student named Ronald Smith won with his proposal of “the Falcons” (excellent choice, if I do say so myself), and the rest is history. In 1967, we were even given a real falcon, named Ace, by the Delta Social Club. Though Ace delighted the UM community, the beloved bird sadly died in 1970 and was buried on campus and not replaced.

The campus needed a little spirit-lifting, so along I came! I was hatched in the early 1980s (’80s babies unite!), and I couldn’t have been luckier than to come to life in a place as special as Montevallo. Taking on the role of UM’s official Falcon mascot has been the greatest honor. I’ve loved entertaining the crowd at basketball games with the cheerleaders (Spirit Camp 1992, anyone?), greeting freshmen on Move-In Day and spending time with students’ loved ones at Family Day on Main Quad. (You may remember me looking a bit different throughout those early years. Don’t laugh! We all have old yearbook photos we’re not proud of.)

But as all college students know, there comes a time in life when you must leave the nest, and that’s what I did in the mid-2000s. I spent about a decade away from my dear UM, and I missed the students, faculty and staff and the beautiful campus every day. During that time, I traveled the globe on a journey of self-discovery — an extended study abroad program if you will. My days were spent hopping from country to country as I experienced different cultures, tried all kinds of delicious new foods and wrote poetry. Though getting to see the world was an enriching adventure, the homesickness took over after a while and I knew it was time for me to go back to the place where I truly belonged.

In October 2013, I made my grand return to the University, even sporting a fabulous new look. You know how much I love basketball, so what better way to make a comeback than at Midnight Madness in the Student Activity Center? The energy in the arena was electric as I performed skits with the cheerleaders, took photos with fans and rooted for the men’s and women’s basketball teams as they kicked off their season. I’m so grateful to all the Falcons that made my homecoming special and welcomed me back with open wings.

Since that day, I’ve been right here spreading the Falcon spirit however I can. Whether I’m hanging out with my other Alabama mascot buddies at the State Capital on Higher Education Day, signing copies of my book “Soar with Freddie” or cruising campus on my purple golf cart (going the speed limit, of course), I am always representing the purple and gold with pride, because Montevallo is my home. I hope you’ve enjoyed a bird’s eye view of what makes this place so special. Happy National Mascot Day from your favorite feathery friend, Freddie!