Nov. 21, 2008
View photos from the Cougar Pride Dedication Ceremony on the Cougar Tracks page.
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.
From 1927 to 1978, Washington State's mascot was a live cougar named Butch. During this time, six cougars served as the school's mascot. The cougars lived in a cage located adjacent to the football stadium, which became known as Butch's Den. The tradition came to end with the passing of Butch VI in 1978.
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.