Panther sculpture brings new tradition to FIU

Brian Hanlon, sculptor of the panther statue, unveils his work during a ceremony on Aug. 29.

Photos courtesy of Alex Blencowe


Alex Blencowe/ Staff Writer

The University community welcomed a panther statue and renovated terrace last week.

Students, Student Government Association leaders and members of the Board of Directors gathered for the unveiling of the two-ton panther sculpture on Friday, Aug. 29, at the Biscayne Bay Campus.

The ceremony took place inside the Wolfe University Center  in Panther Square, where hundreds enjoyed homemade sugar cookies, chicken wings and frozen lemonade. The unveiling was held in the newly renovated Panther Plaza, just outside WUC.

The sculptor himself, Brian Hanlon, was also at the event and did the honor of unveiling his creation in the center of the terrace.

“The new plaza creates an experience for the students that’s much more meaningful and brings panther pride to BBC,” said Scott Jones, director of the Wolfe University Center.

Recently, WUC underwent several renovations including the storefront of the Barnes & Noble FIU Bookstore, Panther Square and now Panther Plaza.

Construction in the Mary Ann Wolfe Theatre will begin late fall, providing better sound quality and comfortable seating for classes, events and workshops.

The director of WUC said the recent renovations are to better the student experience.

“We are hoping to establish new traditions and even hold events around the sculpture, when it’s not a hundred degrees out,” Jones said.

President Mark Rosenberg spoke of one of those traditions during the ceremony.

Rosenberg guaranteed 40 years of good luck to students who touch the panther — a tradition he hopes will continue at both campuses.

Jazmin Felix, president of the Student Government Council at BBC, said her mission as a student government leader lies in the name of the campus.

“My motto has always been: ‘BBC: Bringing Big Changes,’ and that is what we hope to do here,” said Felix.

Stephanie Jamanca, a higher education and administration grad student, said the open areas at BBC create a place where students can socialize and relax.

While, Rafael Zapata, intern director for Campus Life , said the new plaza will expand the programming area on campus.

Zapata said enhancements like the cell phone and laptop charging stations and LED screens in WUC will also help market campus events and are conducive to University expansion.

“We are growing as a university and all the new renovations, the new Starbucks, it’s all a reflection of that growth,” said Zapata. 

Be the first to comment on "Panther sculpture brings new tradition to FIU"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.