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

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

When the new name was revealed during the school's homecoming convocation, students reacted with what Patricia Swindle, the school's public relations director, called a "wonderful audible" that accompanies the name.

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

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

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

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

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

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