In 2003, the first ever Spirit Tee was released. The goal was to fill the stands with fans in Oregon colors, so a yellow shirt that read “Lightning Strikes” in green letters was released, with $1 from each shirt benefiting the Oregon Marching Band and Cheerleaders. Nita Nickell, Assistant Director for Brand Management at the University of Oregon, has been part of the Spirit Tee process since the beginning, and shares her inside perspective on the growth of the project.
Nickell says the Lightning Strikes tee was very well received by fans, but Brand Management, the University of Oregon Alumni Association and The Duck Store wanted to find a way to make the slogan selection process more fun for fans. Since 2004 fans have been submitting their slogan ideas, and each year we receive more than 2,000 entries from fans across the country, with winners from as far away as Tennessee and Georgia — the Tennessee winner even flew out to participate in the unveiling of the slogan that year!