news-category: Campus News

Bold New Bulldog Sculpture Unveiled at Gardner-Webb’s Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center

David and Marie Brinkley pose at the unveiling of the sculpture.
David and Marie Brinkley, along with other friends of Gardner-Webb, helped to make the impressive Bulldog Sculpture a reality.

Created by Jon Hair, Runnin’ Bulldog Made Possible by David and Marie Brinkley and Friends

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A fierce, commanding Runnin’ Bulldog sculpture, unveiled on March 13, celebrates the competitive spirit of Gardner-Webb’s student-athletes and captures the dedication and pride of students, alumni and friends. Placed at the lower main entrance to the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center, the bulldog sculpture is made possible by the generous support of David and Marie Brinkley and other friends of GWU.

David currently serves on the University’s Board of Trustees, and the Brinkleys have enthusiastically supported Gardner-Webb for more than a decade. They wanted to help make the impressive bulldog sculpture a reality after David heard a  presentation from GWU President Dr. William Downs and Vice President of Advancement Nate Evans.

“I believe that bulldog stands for strength, and it stands for unity and boldness,” Brinkley stated at the unveiling ceremony. “And, it will stand for winning, and that’s what is happening here at Gardner-Webb.”

Guided by their faith and a commitment to help improve the lives of children and young adults, David and Marie have supported various academic programs at the University. They have also provided lead gifts for the Brinkley Softball Stadium, marching band uniforms, and the Brinkley Amphitheater.

Gardner-Webb commissioned Jon Hair, a renowned sculptor to create the monumental bulldog. Hair worked on Gardner-Webb’s bulldog for nine months. Finished to look exactly like the GW mascot, the bronze sculpture weighs approximately 800 pounds and is over 4-feet tall and more than 6-feet long.

Downs remarked, “A big bulldog represents our students who come to this University with big dreams. They come here with big ambitions, big plans for their future. We expect them to make a large and lasting impact for God and humanity in their personal lives and in their careers.”

He continued, “Our students come to this building to compete—basketball, wrestling, volleyball, our cheer squad, our pep band, our fans. Our students come here every December to graduate. This is the home of the Runnin’ Bulldogs, and it deserves this bold new addition. Thanks to everyone who has invested to make this new addition to our campus possible.”

Hair has fulfilled over 125 public art commissions in his 22 years as a sculptor of fine art. His clients include the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Computer Sciences Corporation, the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, and the Emmys Hall of Fame.

“I was excited to get the bulldog commission,” Hair asserted. “I have always wanted to create a painted bronze. This is my 70th sculpture in North Carolina and at my 45th university.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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