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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Dale Goodwin, Director
Peter Tormey, Associate Director
|Bulldog Sculpture to be Unveiled Oct. 6|
SCULPTURE TITLED: ‘THIS IS OUR HOUSE’
Gonzaga University will unveil its fetching new 5-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a bulldog, created by Spokane artist Vincent De Felice, at a ceremony starting at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, at the north entrance to the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga President Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., will be on hand. The event is free and open to the public. A noon reception at the site will immediately follow the ceremony.
The sculpture was commissioned by Gonzaga’s Senior Class of 2006 as a gift to the University. Drew Rieder, vice president of the Spokane Chapter of the GU Alumni Association and a member of the Class of 1996, will emcee the event. Cherami Cadwell, president of the Class of 2006, also plans to attend the ceremony. Rev. Spitzer, Cadwell, De Felice, and Rieder are scheduled to speak.
Benefactors also include parents of students in the Class of 2006, the Gonzaga Alumni Association, Sodexho Food Services, and Jack Heath, Peter Stanton, Kevin Daniels, Russell Bevan, Chris Randall, and Dr. John Cadwell and wife Priscilla Cadwell.
It will be a big weekend for Gonzaga as the unveiling takes place during the University’s annual Alumni Reunion, which includes a reunion of the Gonzaga University Glee Club that brought such notoriety to the University decades ago.
The bulldog will be installed prior to the ceremony and will be covered until the unveiling. Links of chain will be attached to the bulldog and the McCarthey Athletic Center to appear as though the bulldog broke its chain and stands ready to protect its turf. If inclement weather prevails, the event will move inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.
In researching bulldog sculptures prior to creating the statue, De Felice said he found most were done poorly with anatomy often sculpted out of proportion or the pieces were stale. The artist said it was important that the piece be prominent enough to be noticeable and not be overwhelmed by the scale of the McCarthey Athletic Center.
De Felice said he tried to make the sculpture “iconic, a standard, a force, a presence — something that will be talked about and that people will come see and take photos of.” By nature, bulldogs are square, stout and stiff with a cock to their heads. De Felice said he added some arc to its spine to indicate movement.
“The chain symbolically says so much,” De Felice said. “It’s strong, proud, protective, loyal, ambitious, ownership. The chain also ties or relates the dog to the building. The (McCarthey Athletic Center) arena is symbolically and literally its kennel — thus the title ‘This Is My House,’ which is ‘The Kennel.’”
Once the basketball season begins, De Felice hopes a tradition will begin of students touching the sculpture for good luck before each game. The artist said words he would use to describe the statue include: iconic, a standard, dynamic, proud, protective, loyal, ambitious, engaging, intimidating, tenacity, determination, energy, not to be messed with, possible aggression, alive, and contemporary.
“Bulldogs suggest great stability, vigor and strength — resolute, courageous and dignified,” said De Felice, who also created a bronze bust of early Jesuit pioneer to the Inland Northwest Rev. Peter DeSmet; a bronze sculpture of a folding chair to signify the presence of the late and beloved men’s basketball team Chaplain Rev. Tony Lehmann, S.J., and stained glass and a crucifix for the Gonzaga School of Law St. Ignatius Chapel.
Gonzaga asks all who plan to attend the dedication to contact Whitney by Oct. 3 at (509) 323-5970 or via e-mail.