As Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue drives to his office every morning and as students make their way to the cafÃ© or quad, they can now wave to “Eddie the Fighting Tiger.”
After about two months of being in its permanent home, across from Long-Jones Hall and the Eddie G Robinson Museum, the latest campus focal point has its new name. The GSU administration made sure to include the student body in choosing the name of the 17-foot tiger.
“The tiger was meant for the community but we really wanted it to be student-based,” said Stacey Duhon, vice president for student affairs and enrollment. “We wanted the students to be attached to the tiger, and what better way of doing that than letting them name the tiger.”
The initial nominations for the naming of the fighting tiger began Jan. 23 and ended on Jan. 28, giving students one week to submit names. A committee of eight students, faculty and staff members reviewed 150 names and picked the top ten names. Then, on Jan. 30-31, students voted, choosing their favorite name.
The top ten names were Champ the Tiger, Charles The Great, “Eddie” the Tiger,
Fierce “The Fighting Tiger” Robinson, Nineteen O. One, Patronus (meaning: protector),
RJ (Ralph Jones) the Tiger, Titan, Triumph and
SGA President Marcus Solomon
and students Akunna Amaefule,
Joyia Smith and
Sean Moore were on the student-focused committee. They were joined by Professor Gernerique Stewart, Dean of Students David Ponton
and Casey Byrd, associate director of student activities.
According to Byrd, the committee reviewed the nominations and chose the 10 best.
In the end, the winning name was Eddie, presumably after Eddie G. Robinson, the university’s legendary head football coach and the NCAA Division football coach with the most wins. The 3,600-pound sculplture arrived on campus early on Dec. 4, and word spread quickly. Students, faculty, staff and others rushed out to the campus quad, snapping photos. Several students suggested the name Eddie, and each name was put in a pool and nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner pulled the name of the lucky winner during the recent Allstate-Tom Joyner Foundation Quotes for Education event in the T.H. Harris Auditorium — Tashica L. Grant-Sims. Sims will get books for the semester.
The sculpture was designed by Houston-based artist Bridgette Mongeon. It was about three years in the making after the 2011 Student Government Association president, Channing Gaulden, first suggested the idea. GSU President Frank G. Pogue said a cornerstone marking the special tiger sculpture will be installed at the base of the sculpture and it will include the names of the three SGA presidents responsible for bringing the idea to fruition.
“I can’t even imagine a better name for our fighting tiger and our mascot,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue, who said he thought the idea was a winner as soon as he heard it. “The reality is that there is no better name, and it is a name recognized internationally and everywhere….It is so appropriate that the location of this new addition to our campus is directly across the street from the Eddie G. Robinson Museum because you cannot see one without seeing the other.”