news-category: Campus News

Gardner-Webb to Unveil New Bulldog Sculpture on March 13 at Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center

Gardner-Webb operations staff members prepare to remove the old bulldog statue to begin constructing a base for the new one. The old sculpture will be on display in Dover Library.

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

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A larger-than-life Runnin’ Bulldog sculpture will be unveiled on March 13 at 2 p.m. in front of the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center lower main entrance. This new addition to campus not only celebrates the competitive spirit of Gardner-Webb’s student-athletes but captures the dedication and pride of students, alumni and friends. The bulldog sculpture is made possible by the generous support of David and Marie Brinkley and other friends of GWU.

The Brinkleys wanted to help make the impressive bulldog sculpture a reality after David heard an enthusiastic presentation from GWU President Dr. William Downs and Vice President of Advancement Nate Evans. “When people visit campus and see this large bulldog sculpture, they will realize the level of commitment that the whole Gardner-Webb Bulldog family has to the University,” David said. “It will become a fixture on campus, a special place for celebrating and making photos.” 

Bo waits for the new sculpture to be delivered to campus.

Downs praised the support of the Brinkleys and University friends and the work of Jon Hair, the renowned sculptor commissioned by Gardner-Webb to create the monumental bulldog. “GWU students come to our campus with big dreams, big ambitions, and big plans. What better way to celebrate their boldness than by going big—really big—with a sculpture of our beloved Bulldog. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and through the talent of a famed sculptor, we now have an instantly iconic new landmark located at the entrance to a building where greatness—athletic and artistic—is on display throughout the year.”

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.”

Hair worked on Gardner-Webb’s bulldog nine months. Sculpted and finished to look exactly like the GW mascot, the bronze work weighs approximately 800 pounds and is over 4-feet tall and more than 6-feet long. “What I love is the challenge of going beyond meeting someone’s expectations at each stage of the project,” he reflected. “First, we do sketches; then we do a little model, called a maquette; then we do an enlargement. I want to create art that inspires people, that uplifts them and makes them feel good.”

The new Runnin’ Bulldog sculpture will sit in the same spot where a smaller bulldog sculpture had been placed by the GWU Class of 2009. The original statue has been moved to a prominent location in Dover Library.  

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

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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