Gail Hairston

Bowman: The Newest Wildcat

Published: Oct 19, 2012

 

 

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2012) — New Traditions.

 

That sounds like an oxymoron, but in reality the phrase could not be more appropriate for the newest addition to University of Kentucky’s statuary.

 

Until recently, it was just known as “That Wildcat Sculpture in Front of Memorial Coliseum.” But now students by campus-wide vote have gifted the sculpture with a name, a dignified name with a noble history.

 

The Wildcat’s name is now Bowman, after John Bowman, the visionary whose determination and perseverance assured the creation and future of the University of Kentucky.  In the midst of the Civil War with soldiers from both armies invading its lands, Bowman challenged the state to courageously invest in the future, to take advantage of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862 to build a public university in Lexington. But Frankfort’s coffers were bare; both the legislature and the governor opposed him, and the public couldn’t get behind the idea of public, nonsectarian higher education. But Bowman persevered against all odds, and today we enjoy all that the University of Kentucky brings to our lives.

 

Already visitors to Wildcat Alumni Plaza are sharing small habits that are slowly growing into traditions. They are already patting Bowman’s head or rubbing his nose and stroking his paws, all for good luck one assumes.

 

“Bowman, the Wildcat sculpture, stands for the pride students, alumni and employees share and serves as a friendly ambassador to campus visitors,” said Leslie Hayes, Alumni Association program coordinator, who spearheaded the effort to find Bowman a name. “Not too many years from now, Bowman will be a sentimental connection today’s students will share as alumni.”

 

To watch the time-lapse construction of Wildcat Alumni Plaza, from beginning to end, watch  http://www.earthcam.com/clients/common/stream_public.php?width=800&height=480&stream_url=http://archives.earthcam.com/archives5/ecnetwork/us/ky/uk/wildcatalumniplaza/&type=mp4&filename=timelapsepro

 

wildcat_statue_tradition.jpgjohn_bowman_courtesy_of_explore_uk.jpg
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