In front of a few hundred IUP football fans on Saturday, September 14, IUP celebrated a new symbol of school spirit.
A brass sculpture of a red-tail hawk created by Indiana area artist John McCombie was unveiled at a reception honoring IUP Athletics Hall of Fameinductees before the football home opener against Cheyney. Other reception guests included the football team of 1963, on campus to celebrate a 50-year reunion, and alumni of Kappa Delta Rho.
The photos and captions below tell the story.
Norm, the mascot students and the community have come to love, pulls the cord on the drape that covers McCombie’s sculpture. Suspended from the ceiling of the lobby of the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, the sculpture weighs some 700 pounds; the university consulted with a structural engineer to ensure it is safely secured.
Artist John McCombie and his wife, Barbara, during the unveiling.
After the unveiling, IUP President Michael Driscoll presented to John McCombie a framed photo array of the hawk and other pieces McCombie has created for IUP’s athletics program. They include the Spirit of the Warrior sculpture that is situated outside of Memorial Field House and the Bell Ringer Awards presented to honorary Athletics Hall of Fame inductees.
“During a playoff football game against Shepherd University last November, a red-tail hawk circled over Miller Stadium. At that crucial moment, IUP intercepted the ball and never looked back, winning the game 27-17,” Driscoll said during the presentation. “When alumnus and artist John McCombie offered to create a sculpture of a hawk—something that would instill student pride in the university—we had to accept. Generations of students and alumni will have the opportunity to pay tribute to their mascot and take their photo with his carefully crafted creation.”
Donors who helped make the sculpture possible include, from left, Alice and Tom Zaucha; the late Roger Reschini, represented in the photo by his son, Joe; and Bill Beck of Indiana. Missing from the photo is Ann Wilmoth, who made her gift in honor of Professor Lewis O. Palmer.
During the program, Zaucha credited the late Ed Bratton and his wife, Joan, with being instrumental in making the sculpture become a reality. He said Bratton, who also generously supported the development of the Kovalchick Complex, felt it important that IUP students have a tangible and lasting symbol of their mascot.