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Set in Bronze

UNO Alumni Association celebrates 100 years with bronze statue.


Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Updated: Sunday, December 15, 2013 16:12

Mav Bronze statue

Photo courtesy of UNO Alumni Association

Once completed, the Maverick Monument will proudly stand outside of UNO's HPER Building and the Sapp Fieldhouse.

Although Sarah Palin has often claimed to be one, University of Nebraska at Omaha students know that for the last 42 years the real “Mavericks” have been in Omaha. Although UNO mascots have transformed over the last century from being the Ponies/Shetland, the Crimson and Black, the Maroons, the Cardinals and the Indians, the “Mavs” are now immortalized in stone—or bronze.

 UNO’s Alumni Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary by bringing “Maverick Monument,” the mascot’s statue to campus.

“On this special anniversary, the Alumni Association wants to commemorate the strength and power of our alumni network,” said Lee Denker, president and CEO of the UNO Alumni Association. “Students have dreamed of having a Maverick statue on campus for decades. The timing was right to make this dream a reality.”

The monument will be an 8-foot tall, 1,500 pound bronze bull statue that is double life-size. The bronze sculpture, based on a fighting bull, will be a symbol of UNO students’ and alumni’s past success and future opportunities.

“Maverick Monument represents the strength and power of our alumni network,” Denker said. “We expect it to become a source of pride for our students and something that makes their UNO experience even more meaningful.”

The Maverick Monument will be part of a newly renovated plaza in front of the HPER Building and the Sapp Fieldhouse on UNO’s Dodge Campus.

 Jocelyn Russell, a wildlife artist who lives in the San Juan Islands in Washington, has been commissioned to build the sculpture. Maverick Monument will be added to Russell’s impressive repertoire of sculpted mascots for Utah State, BYU, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Boy Scouts of America.

 Construction on the plaza for the monument will start in spring 2014. The plaza will consist of an accessible ramp to the monument’s platform, a donor recognition wall, lighting and landscaping. While Russell is currently developing the full-scale monument, her bronze scale prototype will be on display at the Alumni Association’s Thompson Center and other locations around campus.

 The UNO Alumni Association will be hosting a community-wide centennial anniversary celebration on Nov. 8 on campus, where Billy McGuigan, UNO alumnus and musician, will be performing his “Rock Legends” show. Proceeds from the event will go towards the monument and plaza. Additionally, UNO’s Student Government recently passed a resolution to allocate funds for the $200,000 project. Contributors who give $500 or more will be recognized with their names engraved on the donor wall while donors of $10,000 or more will receive a scale model of the monument.

 Maverick Monument is going to be the first mascot statue in the University of Nebraska system and is expected to become a popular campus icon that will welcome new traditions. The monument will also offer photo opportunities for alumni, students, visitors and media.

“I can see incoming freshmen taking photos with Maverick Monument and then returning for another photo on graduation day,” Denker said. “I can see them rubbing the nose for good luck before midterms. Traditions will be developed around it that will grow stronger as the years go by. It will connect students to UNO in exciting and new ways.”

 The Alumni Association first proposed the statue to its board of directors last November. The monument will be revealed with a public dedication sometime next fall. Chancellor John Christensen spoke for all of campus when he said, “the campus community is grateful to its Alumni Association for their leadership in bringing the project to fruition.”

 The first class of UNO graduates started the UNO Alumni Association in 1913. With approximately 100,000 alumni, the UNO Alumni Association has spent the last century strengthening UNO and the community. The Association has contributed to UNO by offering scholarships, professorships, volunteer opportunities, communications and special events. The Alumni Association built the Thompson Alumni center, which now provides a strong connection between campus and the community.  Maverick Monument is another icon of the Association’s dedication to UNO and its legacy.

“The UNO network is making Omaha and our world a better place for all. We are very proud of UNO’s history but we are even more excited about the future,” said Denker.

“We especially want students to remember that the UNO Alumni Association is here for them. We hope that after they graduate, they will remain connected with the Association for life.”

 The UNO Alumni Association would like to thank UNO Student Government for its support and financial help with the exciting project.

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