Donations fund plans to immortalize Knight

A new Knight will grace Gannon University Field come next fall, thanks to a generous donation and the class of 2013.

Irwin Belk, of Charlotte, N.C., is to thank for the $100,000 that will fund a 1,500- pound Golden Knight statue. Though Belk has no strong affiliation with Gannon, he is known for making donations to universities for the creation of mascot statues.

The Golden Knight statue will be 6 ½ feet tall and include a sword and a shield, which will be emblazoned with “GU.” It will reside inside the front gate of Gannon University Field, located at the corner of West Fifth and Sassafras streets.

Belk’s donation will cover the cost of the statue – which is to be sculpted out of bronze – but the Knight’s pedestal as well as the cost of its installation must be provided by the university. That’s where the senior gift of the class of 2013 comes in.

Angela Coustillac, president of the Student Government Association and a senior legal studies and political science major, said this class is dedicating to raise more money for its gift than any class has done before. The pedestal, which will be marked with “Class of 2013,” and the installation are estimated to cost about $5,000, which is the class’s goal.

The most money ever raised for a senior class gift was $2,200 for the green roofs from the class of 2012. The class won Gannon’s Go Green award for this effort last year.

Coustillac also said the process for creating the Golden Knight statue is no small task, but that Gannon has found an artist who will serve the university well. A renowned sculptor from North Carolina, Jon Hair, will be making the statue.

The scheduled timeline for its creation has the Gold Knight debuting homecoming weekend 2013, which is Oct. 19-21. Coustillac said that, because the statue is so heavy, it will have to be made in pieces and then welded together.

Therefore the legs, body, arms and head will be made separately and then all the pieces will be welded together starting in June, so there’s plenty of time for the finished statue’s arrival in October.

Coustillac said SGA is open to taking on smaller projects in addition to the Golden Knight statue if the class manages to raise more money than they need for this project. “We want to see as many of the seniors donate as possible,” she said.

She also encouraged all students to get involved and make a donation – it’s not only for seniors. “There’s plenty of time to donate if you want to,” Coustillac said.

So far, SGA has been selling Gannon football T-shirts in the Waldron Campus Center to raise money for this project. She said they’ll be doing some additional fundraisers throughout the year as well.

Emily Cacchione, a senior communication arts major, said the project sounds like a good idea for the class of 2013’s senior gift. “It will be cool to look back on and say we donated that,” she said.

Likewise, Amira Quarles, a senior nursing major, said she thinks it’s an awesome idea. “It’s a great way for our class to be recognized throughout the years,” she said.

Coustillac compared the statue of the Golden Knight to the Nittany Lion at Penn State. “It’s something tangible that our class will be able to come back to for years to come,” she said. “We want to build Gannon pride and tradition.”

 

KELLY MORELAND

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