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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU's Mascot Big Blue Will Be Unveiled This Fall As a Statue

Old Dominion University's own Big Blue is getting immortalized.

The ODU mascot will have his lion likeness transformed into a life-sized bronze sculpture by Richard Stravitz, a Virginia Beach-based sculptor. The statue will be unveiled during the fall semester in a front-lobby area of Webb Center, where Blue can continuously look out on Kaufman Mall in his trademark "We're No. 1" pose.

"We wanted to create something that can be a focal point of pride for students, for people visiting campus and for alumni," said Joshua Darr, a rising senior from Spotsylvania, Va., and a program assistant with ODU's Office of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services (SEES). "We have the lion statue on Kaufman Mall. It's beautiful, but it's serious and formal. With this Big Blue statue, we want people to walk into Webb Center and see the spirited, fun, engaged part of Old Dominion, too."

SEES, Webb Center and ODU's Student Government Association (SGA) came up with the concept for the statue. Then, SGA President Mariam Abdelhamid and Vice President Ashton Gray helped decide on the pose and location. Big Blue, himself, showed up in Webb Center for a photo shoot early in June, and those pictures were sent to Stravitz, who is casting the 7-foot-tall statue in bronze.

The statue has been commissioned by SGA, SEES and Webb Center.

Wood Selig, ODU director of athletics, said it's only fitting that Big Blue be rendered in bronze. "In addition to being the 2011 Capital One Mascot of the Year, he will now be immortalized with a high-profile statue on our beautiful campus. Generations of current and future ODU students can enjoy this statue as Big Blue reigns as king of our campus."

Immortalizing a college mascot in statue form, while somewhat unique, is not unprecedented. Darr said the idea was brought to life after outgoing SGA President Luis Ferreira and Vice President Fred Tugas toured the student union at Ohio State University, where a statue of the OSU mascot, Brutus, is prominently displayed.

"This fits well with our Monarch Citizen campaign, the idea of creating your own identity as an ODU student. That's the definition of being a Monarch," Darr said.

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