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May, 2014

Rudy Lands at the Racine Zoo

Guests can meet the Gateway mascot in special exhibit
Rudy the Red Hawk

Rudy the Red Hawk

The Racine Zoological Society has announced Rudy, a native Wisconsin red-tailed hawk and official mascot of Gateway Technical College, has a permanent home in a special exhibit at the zoo.

The hawk came to the zoo from a wildlife rehabilitator and is healing from a broken wing. Zoo staff is currently training Rudy so that after he is fully rehabilitated he will become an education ambassador for the zoo and the college. Rudy’s exhibit will be located in the peasantry just north of the lower Andean bear viewing area. He will be ready to meet the public in early May.

“Rudy is an important animal ambassador because he allows guests to get close to, observe, and learn about a species from right here in Wisconsin,” said Jay R. Christie, zoo president and CEO. “Thank you to Gateway for making this a learning opportunity for the entire community.”

Gateway sponsored the hawk and exhibit, and Rudy will make appearances with educational staff at events and schools to provide a means for children and adults alike to learn about one of the most common and beautiful birds of prey in Wisconsin. Rudy’s exhibit will be outfitted with a live web camera so educators from around the world with Internet connection can teach their students about red-tailed hawks, their habitat, and efforts to conserve these birds in the wild.

“We believe in environmental stewardship, education and, of course, Rudy The Red Hawk,” said Stephanie Sklba, Gateway vice president, community and government relations. “The real-life Rudy helps us to embrace all of these. He will be a great ambassador for the college and education. We are happy to partner with the zoo on this effort.”

There also will be added opportunities for Gateway students in several different programs to apply the skills they gain at the college to the real-life aspects of managing Rudy and his exhibit at the zoo.

In June of 2013, the Gateway Technical College Board of Trustees adopted the red hawk as the official mascot for Gateway Technical College. As Gateway developed its official mascot the goal was to identify an approachable personality for the symbol representing Gateway to their communities. Rudy the Red Hawk was quickly adopted and participates in student life activities, academic competitions, and represents the college at key community events.

For Rudy’s entire story, go to

Red-tailed hawks are keen-eyed and efficient hunters. Red-tails prefer open areas, such as fields with high perching places nearby from which they can watch for prey. They often perch on telephone poles and take advantage of the open spaces along the roadside to spot and seize mice, ground squirrels, rabbits, reptiles, and other prey.

The story behind the Red Hawk mascot

In June of 2013 the Gateway Technical College Board of Trustees adopted the “Red Hawk” as the official mascot for Gateway. The Red Hawk (short for Red-tailed Hawk) is a majestic bird that is well known throughout the state of Wisconsin and North America. The Red Hawk can be identified by brick-red feathers along the crown of the head and throughout the tail. Red-tailed Hawks are found in cities as well as rural areas, which mirrors the Gateway district mix of urban and rural landscape.

In flight, the Red-tail Hawk holds a steady and deliberate pattern. For over 100 years Gateway has demonstrated a similar commitment to its mission of providing education and training opportunities for all learners and meeting our communities’ workforce education goals. The Gateway Red Hawk serves as a reminder of the important contributions Gateway students have made to the college and their communities over the history of the college and the responsibility we all have for creating our future.

Life is Big. Be Prepared.