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12 foot bronze lion statue unveiled on the MSSU campus - KOAM TV 7

12 foot bronze lion statue unveiled on the MSSU campus

Updated:
Statue unveiled August 19, 2013. Statue unveiled August 19, 2013.

Updated August 19, 2013 - Missouri Southern university their Lion Icon statue just outside of Billingsly Student Center on the campus oval today - the first day of fall classes.

MSSU says this bronze sculpture will be a focal point for photography, gatherings and other events.  It's surrounded by a 5,400 square foot plaza.

Interim President Alan Marble spoke at the ceremony.

"Today is an exciting day, it marks one of the new beginnings in our Lion family, and frankly, it's a great personal honor for me to return to my alma matter, and to celebrate the dedication of the Lion Pride Plaza with the unveiling of the Lion Icon," says Marble.  "Let's remember that today's historic event will create a new tradition for Lions everywhere and of all ages, from Lions that attended the Joplin Junior College to Lions currently enrolled as students here even to Lions of future generations who have yet to walk these halls and grace this plaza."

"Unveiling this statue today is very meaningful for me, individually, because I am an alumni, and I think it's very meaningful to the campus as a whole because it's just so symbolic of who we are and what we are and the pride we take here at Missouri Southern," says JoAnn Graffam, the MSSU Vice President for Development.  "What we want for this plaza area is to be a gathering place for our students, faculty, and staff and community members and alumni who come to the campus and we have seating walls around the statue so students can sit and do a little studying before class or anyone can have lunch or just enjoy it."

"The Lion Icon will be an enduring symbol of our pride in this great university that just turned 75 years old and it's a perfect way to start the next 75," says Marble."

Those attending the unveiling included the architect, sculptor, building company, and the major donors - Bill and Tracy Gipson.  A plaque with the names of donors and student senate members was also unveiled.

 

Updated August 16, 2013 - NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY MISSOURI SOUTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY:

Witness the Unveiling of an Icon Monday at MSSU

JOPLIN, MO (SNS) - Missouri Southern State University students and employees will experience a historic moment on the first day of classes as a new, iconic structure is officially unveiled.

The Lion Icon statue will be is unveiled at noon on Monday, Aug. 19, just outside of Billingsly Student Center on the campus Oval. The ceremony will include remarks from Interim President Alan Marble and members of the Student Senate. Missouri Southern Foundation supporters Bill and Tracy Gipson will also be recognized.

Those who cannot attend can view the unveiling via live stream on the Missouri Southern website at WWW.MSSU.EDU.

The Lion Icon creates a new entrance for Billingsly Student Center, serving as a focal point for photography, gatherings and other events, as well as daily use by students, faculty and staff.

The structure is surrounded by a new 5,400 square-foot plaza, which features a winding, graduated wall as well as ground pavers. The area will be accentuated with new seating and lighting, and will be a location designed to attract students and visitors.

A new design was created for Missouri Southern by Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, N.J. The bronze lion is one of Hanlon's more than 200 original art pieces, which are located throughout the world.

The Gipsons as well as the Student Senate made significant donations to help this project become a reality. R.E. Smith, as well as the MSSU Physical Plant, worked long hours this summer to complete the project before the start of fall classes.

The unveiling will take place during the University-Wide Campus Picnic. The picnic is free to students, faculty and staff with a Missouri Southern I.D.

Members of the public are invited. The cost is $6.

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Posted March 5, 2013 - NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY MISSOURI SOUTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY:

JOPLIN, MO (SNS) - The landscape of the Missouri Southern State University Oval will soon be enhanced by a new landmark, thanks to two significant gifts made to the Missouri Southern Foundation.

This fall, a new, larger-than-life lion statue will grace the grounds in front of the Leon C. Billingsly Student Center on the west side of the campus Oval. The project is a step forward in the university's Master Facilities Plan, which calls for new buildings, campus renovations and gateway signage over the next 25 years.

Made possible by a generous gift from Bill and Tracy Gipson as well as the MSSU Student Senate, the bronze statue will stand 10 feet in height and will be nearly 12 feet in length. The structure will be surrounded by a new 5,400 square-foot plaza, which will feature a winding, graduated wall as well as ground pavers. The area will be accentuated with new seating and lighting, and will be a location designed to attract students and visitors.

"It's a special moment for Missouri Southern to announce these gifts," said JoAnn Graffam, vice president of University Development and executive director of the Missouri Southern Foundation. "It is exciting to be able to accomplish another of our Master Facilities Plan projects, especially one that will be so visually meaningful and inspiring for our campus. We are very grateful to Bill and Tracy as well as the Student Senate for making this project possible."

Construction of the plaza will begin this summer, and is scheduled to be completed by the first day of the Fall 2013 semester, when the statue will be publicly unveiled.

A new design created for Missouri Southern by Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, N.J., the bronze lion is one of Hanlon's more than 200 original art pieces, which are located throughout the world. Hanlon created a statue of Shaquille O'Neil for Louisiana State University, "The Pirate," a famous statue at Seton Hall University in New York, as well as art for many other universities across the nation. The plaza will be constructed by RDG Planning and Design of Des Moines, Iowa, the firm that helped develop MSSU's Master Facilities Plan.

Taylor Hass, MSSU Student Senate President, said the organization was quick to support the fundraising effort.

"The Student Senate has been trying to get a project like this completed for several years and we are very happy to see it finally done," Hass said. "We are proud to be a part of such a huge project on campus and are excited that, thanks to the donation from the Gipsons, such a bold icon can be placed on our Oval."

For the Gipsons, both graduates of Missouri Southern and both now retired, funding this project was an opportunity to share their affinity for their alma mater with current and future students.

"We are pleased to work with the Student Senate to bring this iconic symbol to the University campus," said the Gipsons. "The lion is an important part of Missouri Southern's history and it is time for it to take a prominent place on our campus."

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Lion Icon statue and plaza is planned for April, with construction to begin immediately afterward.

"This piece of art will invoke pride and will give us an additional point of beauty on our campus," said MSSU President Bruce Speck. "I am looking forward to seeing the difference it makes on our Oval."

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