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March 14, 2012 / Jackie Grady

What’s a Bonnie? An explainer on the St. Bonaventure Nickname.

St. Bonaventure Bonnies logo

Image via Wikipedia

Now that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have qualified for the NCAA Basketball Tournaments, a lot of people have been asking me, “What’s a Bonnie?” As a proud alum living in South Florida,  my office is decorated with Bonnie paraphernalia.  With everyone  filling out their tournament brackets and researching teams, I am the office expert on all things St. Bonaventure.

My only response thus far has been, “I’m a Bonnie.”  I’m greeted with a chort and a puzzled stare.  But how do I explain?  How do I explain that we are one of the smallest D-1 schools in the country.  We don’t buy championships with luring the best coaches with multi-million dollar contracts.  Our alumni base is so small, we don’t have huge endowments to build state of the art sports facilities.  We don’t brand our logo on everything that is possible.

How do I explain that the Brown and White were not colors selected for some glitzy marketing purpose.  But rather are the colors that mirror the winter hillsides surrounding us through the majority of the school year?  That who we are, where we live, and what we believe come together at St. Bonaventure.

How can I tell someone who graduated from a mega University that we kept our doors unlocked and that Professors knew us by name, not a number.  After one day on campus, no one was a stranger.  It’s a smile, a commitment to kindness, a feeling.  How do I explain that our victories, both in sport and in life, are hollow if not handled with humility?

People want an easy answer.  But a Bonnie is not an animal, a tree, or a fruit.  How do I explain that it’s the Franciscan values that infect each one of us like an autumn day, that makes a Bonnie.  That each of us, combined, embody what it means to be a Bonnie.  That we are a school created by its people and held together by our values. We are the community.  Each of us, together, create the whole.  And what we are together is so great that the love and pride we have is not something we wear on our sleeves.  Hell no, together, we wear our heart on a mountain.

When people ask, “What’s a Bonnie?”   I respond, “I’m a Bonnie.”


Leave a Comment
  1. Kathy Walsh Flynn / Mar 16 2012 1:56 pm

    I am a Bonnie!

  2. melissa painter / Mar 16 2012 3:08 pm

    i am proud to be a bonnie too! 🙂

  3. Bike Souls / Mar 16 2012 3:51 pm

    Thank you Kathy and Melissa. I appreciate you reading! Let’s Go Bona’s!

  4. John A. Fortkort / Mar 16 2012 4:08 pm

    Wow – very well said!

  5. Karen O'Brien Malley / Mar 16 2012 7:00 pm

    Wonderful! I’m proud to be a Bonnie, class of ’85.

  6. John Reale / Mar 17 2012 1:30 pm

    Well done..

  7. Jim / Apr 11 2012 11:29 am

    It’s an awesome thing to see the spirit of the explanation, you did an awesome job! It is obviously heartfelt. The “Bonnies” was a nickname when people referred to the institution known as St. Bonaventure and it’s people. When it became politically incorrect to use the term “Brown Indian”, St Bonaventure solicited students, administration and alumni to term a new mascot name. I was a freshman at the time – that was in 1985. I recall Steve Horan of the class of 1989 was the last Brown Indian – and no, that sentiment is not solicite the same reaction as, say, watching “The last Mohican” or anything of the sort, but seriously, could we do no better?

  8. Brenda / Dec 6 2012 8:11 am

    Touching, thank you!

  9. Jeffrey Butler / Feb 8 2013 3:23 pm

    I am a Bonnie! And, damn proud of it!

  10. chrisradey / Feb 8 2013 5:30 pm

    Bonnie class of 2011–brilliantly stated.

  11. Michael Hughes Bonnie Alumn / Dec 15 2014 1:56 am

    Bonnie alumn! Just moved to south Florida in jupiter. What is your name!?!?!?

  12. Pam Cox / Mar 10 2016 2:12 pm

    Go Bonnie’s! I also live in south Florida in Venice. Class of 1980

    • Cycle Tree / Mar 11 2016 12:36 am

      Wonderful! Thank you for stopping by and reading the post.

  13. Sarah Caruso Jankowski / Mar 11 2016 5:14 pm

    so proud to be a Bonnie and a 3rd year generation even!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Barbara Knight / Mar 11 2016 11:56 pm

    Your article summed it up so well making me even more proud that I’m a Bonnie too!!!!! Thanks for putting into words what we all feel. Go Bonnies!!!!!

  15. Tom Murray '83 / Mar 12 2016 5:00 am

    Aren’t we brown because of the Friars robes?

    • Cycle Tree / Mar 13 2016 4:54 pm

      Absolutely. The article was to provide a sense of atmosphere.

  16. Mickey Gargan / Mar 10 2018 9:56 pm

    I have four relatives who went to St Bonaventure! I know what a Bonnie is. GREAT article!

    • Jackie Grady / Mar 11 2018 10:46 pm

      I hope they enjoy the Bonnies dancing in the NCAA tournament!


  1. March Madness – St. Bonaventure Edition – Getting There

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