NEWBERRY — Newberry College unveiled its wolf sculpture on Aug. 22, a larger than life recreation of the wolf depicted in the college’s logo, to the more than 1,200 students, faculty, staff and community members who had gathered for the event.
The big reveal was part of the college’s Opening Convocation ceremony officially welcoming students back to campus for the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.
“After many weeks of anticipation, it was exciting to finally unveil the wolf and share it with the campus and local community,” said Newberry College President Dr. Maurice Scherrens, who had the honor of unveiling the statue. “It is a beautiful likeness to the noble wolf depicted in our logo and it is exciting to have a tangible symbol of school pride for all to enjoy.”
The statue is a gift from Dr. Irwin Belk in honor of his wife, Carol. Although his interests are varied, Belk’s philanthropic focus has been primarily on higher education and athletics. He has been awarded more than 30 honorary doctorates from various institutions, including Newberry College, which awarded him the Doctor of Humane Letters in 2013. Belk was unable to attend the unveiling in person.
The wolf sculpture was installed in its current location in June but remained hidden from view until the unveiling ceremony, which offered the campus community its first glimpse of the statue. It is the first wolf-related monument installed on the campus since Newberry College changed its mascot from the Indians to the Wolves in 2010.
Mayor Foster Senn read the City of Newberry’s proclamation declaring Aug. 22, 2014, The Day of the Wolf at the unveiling event.
“As I noted in my proclamation, the wolf possesses many admirable qualities, such as wisdom, patience and loyalty,” Senn said. “Newberry College exemplifies many of the best characteristics of the wolf. It was a pleasure to honor this traits at today’s celebration.”
The wolf monument is the creation of award-winning artist and sculptor Gregory Johnson, whose public art installations can be seen widely throughout the Southeast with other works on display in museums and corporate and private collections in the U.S. and internationally.
The wolf was created with an armature of flexible wood and metal to support the weight of the nearly 500 pounds clay used to model it. The clay model was cast at a foundry in Wyoming using 250 pounds of bronze.
The wolf’s beautiful patina was achieved through the time-honored process of annealing rather than through chemical dyes and pigments to achieve the luster and texture of the finished work.
“Creating the Newberry College wolf was a privilege for me,” Johnson said. “I enjoyed the adventure of making it and I hope that the College and local community enjoy the result.”