This is the "Bison statue" page of the "FAQ: Gallaudet Bison" guide.
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FAQ: Gallaudet Bison   Tags: deaf, faq, gallaudet history  

This guide offers background on Gallaudet University's Bison mascot.
Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Bison statue Print Page

Statue history

A welded-steel sculpture representing a Bison stands in front of the Gallaudet University Field House. It was created by sculptor Ben Williams of Livingston, Montana. The sculpture was seen there and bought by the founder and president of J. W. Kaempfer Company, a D.C.-area developer of office buildings. His company used it for about 9 months in 1986, set up next to Interstate 66 in Rosslyn, Virginia, accompanying a real-estate advertising sign. Then-president of Gallaudet University, Dr. Jerry C. Lee, spotted it there and thought the perfect place for the bison sculpture would be at Gallaudet University. He persuaded Kaempfer to lend it to the University. A couple of years later, Gallaudet bought the sculpture outright, and it has guarded the Field House ever since.

The 500-pound, unpainted sculpture is made from special Cor-Ten steel, which is purposely allowed to develop a coat of rust that prevents further rusting. Similar steel is used in many bridge girders and other applications where people want to avoid the need for periodic repainting. The sculptor took advantage of the rusty color and texture to suggest the color and hair of a real bison.

Source: On the Green, vol. 17 no. 4, October 27, 1986, p.1.

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Prepared by Tom Harrington
Reference and Instruction Librarian
August, 2006

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