EAC’s Fighting Gila Monsters come from all 50 states and more than 30 countries around the world. Join our Gila Monster family to discover the best years of your life!
EAC offers more than 90 certificates and degrees, including the #1 nursing school in Arizona, a fine arts program featuring the only marching band in Arizona, and an engineering program that brings students up to speed for success at universities and top-tiered firms.
Students thrive at EAC, making friendships that last a lifetime. Our vibrant student experience includes on-campus housing, more than 30 clubs and organizations, active intramurals, and nationally ranked athletic and e-sports teams.
And best of all, at EAC, most students leave with $0 debt.
Eastern Arizona College has been known as the Fighting Gila Monsters for more than 100 years, and Gila Hank has been our mascot since 1947.
Reg Manning, a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for The Arizona Republic, created Gila Hank at the request of an EAC instructor named Jerry Stone. As an advisor to EAC’s student newspaper, “The Hoot Owl,” Stone needed a graphic image that depicted the Gila monster mascot for the College. He wrote a letter to Manning asking him to draw up a Gila monster, and the Stetson-hatted, two-gun-toting Gila Hank was the result.
Gila Hank started small, initially appearing in “Hoot Owl” sports stories, but eventually grew into the school's official mascot. With his 10-gallon Stetson and pistols, he has appeared on thousands of Eastern Arizona College publications; in person, he’s helped cheer on the school's athletic teams, as well as attended other campus events. He has been a cherished tradition at the College ever since Manning created him 75 years ago.
“Gila Hank holds a special place in our campus’ heart,” said Todd Haynie, EAC president. “Reg Manning would be gratified to know that thousands upon thousands of students have an emotional connection with a character he created some time ago.”
Gila Hank’s costumes and design have seen continual change since he was first introduced in 1947. Today’s Gila Hank is a more modernized version of the original that can be used in wide variety of media.
“It is difficult to come close to understanding the impact Gila Hank has made at EAC. He is part of our story and will continue to touch the lives of EAC students for many generations to come.”