WHEATON, Ill., October 2 (RNS)--After seven months of consideration, Wheaton College has founda new mascot to replace the "Crusaders."

President Duane Litfin announced Friday (Sept. 29) that "The WheatonThunder" will replace the controversial name used for 70 years by theevangelical Christian school in Wheaton, Ill.

When the new name was revealed during the school's homecomingconvocation, students reacted with what Patricia Swindle, the school'spublic relations director, called a "wonderful audible" that accompaniesthe name.

"They started banging their feet on the bleachers," she said of theevent in the school's King Arena. "The noise was wonderful. That's goingto work really well for us in athletic situations."

Swindle said the "Thunder" name has a "strong general appeal" andmet the criteria of the selection committee, including that it begender-neutral and could stand the test of time.

"Also thunder has wonderful biblical references," she said. "Thereare several references to thunder representing God in passages from Joband in the Psalms and in Revelation."

The selection committee, which considered more than 550 nominationsfor a new name, now will determine what graphical representation willaccompany the mascot.

Earlier this year, writing to the college community about thedecision to no longer use "Crusaders," Litfin said, "We are hard-pressedto find anything in these disastrous waves of fighting that our Lordmight have approved, despite the fact that the conflict was ostensiblycarried out in his name.