JWU News

JWU Campuses Welcome their Big Cats

Students throwing confetti

Last year, JWU’s Providence Campus installed its newest symbol of spirit, a massive bronze Wildcat sculpture. Now the university’s regional campuses — North Miami, Denver and Charlotte — are gearing up to welcome their own big cats.

The Wildcats Arrive
Charlotte and North Miami’s cats are being installed within a few days of one another: Charlotte’s on April 23, and North Miami’s on April 28.

Denver’s Wildcat will be installed in mid-May, with a full-blown dedication ceremony scheduled for when students return in the fall. On May 18, the campus will hold a mid-finals “study break with the Wildcat,” complete with JWU schwag, foam paw prints and snacks.

More than a Mascot
Kathleen Harney, JWU’s First Lady and liaison to the university’s Public Art Committee, calls the sculpture “the right project at the right time.”

Harney and the committee worked with renowned wildlife sculptor Mike Fields to ensure that the cat’s design, pose and purpose physically embodied each characteristic of the Wildcat Way: “Pride, Courage, Character, Community.”

About Artist Mike Fields
You could say that Fields was born to create the cat: His father Chester is also a renowned wildlife sculptor. “Learning from my dad was a fantastic foundation — from the business side to the technical demands of sculpting,” he says.

The committee was duly impressed with Fields’ thoughtful proposal, which included scale drawings and mapped out ways to integrate the cat into the campus surroundings.

Says Harney, “It’s my belief that he captured every characteristic that we were looking for.”

Although each Wildcat sculpture is identical, each plinth has been quarried locally, which gives each cat a unique regional character.

Learn more about JWU’s Wildcats and the Wildcat Way.

Topics: Campus Life