There is a new tiger on campus.
This tiger is a large sculpture designed by Bridgette Mongeon, an artist who was given a contract to create a design especially for Grambling State University.
“This statue is designed to bring our university together the way we ought to be together,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue. “This is going to be the gathering place.”
First thing Wednesday morning, word started to spread that the much-awaited tiger had arrived and students, faculty, staff and administrators gathered to watch as it was unloaded from a truck to its permanent home across from Long-Jones Hall, Grambling Hall and the Eddie G. Robinson Museum. That afternoon, Pogue and David Ponton, dean of students, examined the towering monument with appreciation and amazement.
“It’s exactly what we anticipated as we entered this three years ago; this is three years in the making, maybe even four,” said Pogue.
The sculpture was installed by Horton Construction Company Inc., a black-owned business in Shreveport that built the tiger foundation, according to Ante’ Britten, assistant vice president of finance and administration. Next week Horton will do more work, but university officials urge caution.
The area where the tiger stands is safe to visit, but due to preparations for more alterations in Tiger Square Britten cautions visitors to watch for mounds of dirt and holes in the ground. “We’re going to install three additional walkways as access points to the statue, additional concrete so that it will be better for taking pictures and a plaque that will have the date that the tiger was set up.”
Although the tiger statue has arrived as the campus beautification project comes to a close, it is not a part of that project since the idea was years in the making. “The tiger is not a direct part of the campus beautification project; in fact a lot of the campus beautification projects, in the area where the flag pole once stood, were built around the tiger,” added Britten.
According to Pogue, the tiger was “discussed by the students, supported by the students and to some extent funded by the students.”
“The idea for the tiger began at least three years ago with the SGA administration because (former, 2011 SGA President) Channing Gaulden was one of the first ones to mention a statue on campus,” said Ponton.
The massive structure will get an official GSU welcome at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. The president said there will be a special announcement: “We’re going to announce the competition to have students name the tiger.”