PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Johnson & Wales University welcomed the newest wildcat to its Harborside Campus on Thursday.
The school has installed a 12-foot-long bronze statue of a wildcat climbing a rock.
The statue weighs 5,000 pounds, and combined with its pedestal, the entire monument weighs almost 50,000 pounds.
“From the start, we wanted to create a public art sculpture that would invite student and visitor interaction,” said Kathleen Harney, JWU’s First Lady and liaison to the university’s Public Art Committee.
Other Johnson & Wales locations, including the North Miami, Denver, and Charlotte campuses, will welcome identical wildcat statues in the coming months.
Johnson & Wales’ mascot has been a wildcat since the 1960s, though in the early 1990s, a griffin, a mythological lion creature, served as the mascot temporarily.
The university formed a Public Art Committee in 2013 amidst the planning of the JWU centennial celebration.
Mike Fields of Washington State was chosen by the committee to sculpt the masterpiece.
“The statue’s confident pose is inspiring to our students as they strive to achieve their goals and dreams, while sitting on the pedestal gives them a spot for quiet reflection. We are so pleased to welcome the newest wildcat to our campus as we conclude our centennial year celebration,” Harney said.