PULLMAN, Wash. - Cougar Pride, a 15-foot tall monument commissioned by Gary Schneidmiller (WSU class of '71) and created by artists Mike and Chester Fields, was dedicated during a ceremony at the Martin Stadium plaza, Saturday, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m., two hours prior to kickoff of the Apple Cup, proudly sponsored by Boeing.
Dignitaries who spoke at the dedication ceremony included Governor Chris Gregoire, WSU President Elson S. Floyd, Fran Forgette, Chair, WSU Board of Regents, Director of Athletics Jim Sterk, the Fields, and Schneidmiller.
The monument, which Governor Gregoire remarked "is a wonderful tribute" to the university, is named Cougar Pride, and stands 15-feet high on its pedestal and is the largest bronze sculpture on campus. It was brought to Pullman, Wednesday night from Joseph, Ore., where it was cast in bronze, and placed Thursday, Nov. 20.
In its entirety, the sculpture is 14-feet, 5-inches long nose to tail, 6-feet, 4-inches wide, and weighs approximately 4,500 pounds; the cougar itself will stand 11-feet, 4-inches high. It will be located on the Martin Stadium Plaza, adjacent to the main thoroughfare of campus, Stadium Way.
"Washington State University deserved a magnificent art piece and symbol that would forever be the equal of a world-class institution," Schneidmiller said earlier this week. "I hope that Cougars everywhere will agree we have succeeded."
"Gary is a great friend and supporter of Cougar Athletics and Washington State University," Sterk said earlier this week. "This sculpture is a testament to this fact. His generosity and love of WSU have made this sculpture a reality, and it is something that past, present, and future generations of Cougars will take great satisfaction in and be able to enjoy forever."
With Cougar Pride, Schneidmiller wished to honor his father, Manuel, a 1941 graduate; as well as his mother, Gladys, who still attends all of the WSU football games. In addition, he wished to preserve the tradition of Butch.
However, as described on the plaque dedication, 30 years later, Butch has returned home with Cougar Pride. The monument is located adjacent to the area where Butch the mascot called home.
Crafted by Mike Fields and his father Chester, who are based in Spokane, Wash., the process of creating the statue began in May and was only completed earlier this month when the monument was cast in bronze.
"My Dad and I want to express how pleased and honored we are to create this sculpture for Martin Stadium," said Mike Fields. "We were excited to have the opportunity to work on it."
"They did an amazing job," Schneidmiller said of the Fields. "They created a masterful piece that represented the entire University."
"Mike and Chester Fields have created a sculpture that will become a signature landmark of this great University," Sterk said. "It is a terrific work of art."
The public will have the opportunity to purchase 11-, 18- or 30-inch miniature versions of the statue in bronze casting, and in 2009 a 9-inch nickel plated version will be available. More information on how to purchase the miniatures will be made available in the near future at the website cougarpride.com. A significant portion of the proceeds from the sale of the miniatures will be contributed to the WSU Athletic Department.
Magnificent Cougar graces campus
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008
Article by Becky Phillips, WSU Today
Photos by Becky Phillips and Robert Hubner, WSU Photo Services
“There’s a new Coug in town!” said a bystander watching the painstaking installation of an 11-foot tall cougar statue at Martin Stadium Thursday morning. Placed just in time for the Apple Cup, the granite and bronze monument is destined to become one of WSU’s most notable landmarks.
The sculpture, Cougar Pride, was commissioned and donated to WSU by Gary Schneidmiller (WSU class of 1971) and created by Spokane artists, Mike and Chester Fields. A formal dedication ceremony will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22 at the Martin Stadium Plaza.
Gary Schneidmiller (WSU class of '71) commissioned the Cougar Pride bronze for WSU.
Preparations for the placement of the bronze began a week ago with the laying of granite slabs that cover the concrete pedestal. Employees from Great Floors – Granite and Stone, of Post Falls, spent several days lifting, fitting and trimming the tan-brown granite which lines the pedestal. Special crimson granite was used to form Cougar logos near the commemorative plaque.
Bill McLeskey, lead installer for Great Floors, said each of the granite side panels weighs 450 pounds and the top piece – installed in two halves – weighs 2000 pounds. In total, he estimates the monument to weigh about seven tons – including four tons of granite and the nearly three ton bronze sculpture.
A year in the making, the sculpture was designed in Spokane, sculpted in clay in Portland and then cast in bronze at a foundry in Joseph, Oregon. Yesterday, the finished statue was driven up the steep and winding Rattlesnake Grade into Washington where it spent the night in Pullman.
Chester and Mike Fields - the Spokane artists who created Cougar Pride.
Today, as the morning light shone on the magnificent cougar outside Martin Stadium, people commented on its lifelike eyes. “We polished the eyes to make them more reflective – kind of like a real cat,” said sculptor Mike Fields.
“They did an amazing job,” Schneidmiller said of the Fields. “They created a masterful piece that represented the entire University.”
Schneidmiller commissioned Cougar Pride not only to preserve the tradition of Butch, the once live cougar mascot, but also to honor his father, Manuel, a 1941 WSU graduate and his mother, Gladys, who still attends all of the WSU football games. Schneidmiller resides in Post Falls, Idaho.
The bronze was delivered to Martin Stadium Thursday morning. (photo by Robert
Hubner, WSU Photo Services.)
Lowering the three-ton sculpture onto the pedestal.
Delicately trying to settle the bronze onto its base pole.
Sculptor Mike Fields in foreground (red coat). Jim Sterk, Athletics director on right.
Great Floors employees roll brown and tan granite slabs to concrete pedestal
earlier this week.
BIG CAT: Cougar Pride, a 15-foot-tall bronze cougar monument, will be dedicated in the Martin Stadium plaza on Saturday at 10 a.m. The giant cougar weighs 4,500 pounds and is more than 14 feet long from nose to tail. It was commissioned by Gary Schneidmiller (WSU class of 1971) and created by artists Mike and Chester Fields
WSU Monument for WSU Atheletics presented on Apple Cup weekend 2008. This bronze sculpture has already gained significant recognition, thanks to Gary Schneidmillers generous univesrity sculpture commission.