"Sparky is, and always will be, the face of Arizona State University and Sun Devil Athletics."
A large crowd gathered on Friday afternoon in Arizona State's Memorial Union to witness a changing of the guard, as the Arizona State Athletic Department unveiled the new design for the school's mascot.
The university has joined forces with the Disney Corporation to create a newly designed mascot that will be used in a number of innovative ways.
Vice President for University Athletics stressed the importance of providing Sun Devil supporters with the best possible service and fan experience, and he believes that the new Sparky mascot is a step in the right direction.
"We needed a change in the culture of Sun Devil Athletics," said Patterson.
Patterson and vice president of licensing at Disney Consumer Products Stephen Teglas hope the new Sparky will appeal to a younger audience that represents the future of Arizona State.
"Aligning Sparky with Dr. Crow's vision for a new American university has been a lot of fun," Teglas said.
While the new image is sure to create controversy among loyal supporters, Patterson was quick to reiterate that the official Sparky logo won't be abandoned.
"Some traditions will always remain the same. The official Sparky logo will not change," Patterson said.
The partnership between Arizona State and Disney extends to the classroom where students at the university have engaged with some of Disney's best executives to help create the new Sparky.
The new costume will make its first appearance at the Arizona State football team's spring game, and become a mainstay at Sun Devil athletic events in the fall of 2013.
The old mark continue to be used on university licensed apparel, products, and other merchandise.