Gators have new guardian

The newly installed 10-foot bronze Gator Spirit Statue stands in front of the Don Nasser Family Plaza at SF State on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.

[/media-credit] The newly installed 10-foot bronze Gator Spirit Statue stands in front of the Don Nasser Family Plaza at SF State on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.

On Tuesday, Aug. 16, the Gator Spirit Statue made its appearance by the entrance of the gymnasium, four days before the new freshman class moved in.
After trying from different angles, a little boy climbed onto the back of the alligator that holds a sphere of written words under its front feet. The perch is a globe with crisscrossing bands listing SF State’s values; social justice, excellence and equity are some of the attributes cast in bronze under the alligator.
Sarah Guensler, a business major, had positive things to say about the 10-foot bronze sculpture that features a soon-to-be engraved platform.
“It’s a bad ass Gator statue,” Guensler said.
Mei Mei Kao didn’t agree with the placement of the statue. “It looks good, but I think it should be closer to the other statue,” Kao said, referring to the bronze busts of former coaches Vic Rowen and Joe Verducci. Kao’s daughter started graduate school this year at SF State.
The statue is the result of a cooperative process between Professor Emeritus Leonard Hunter, who designed four different models of the alligator, and sculptor Ilaman Sabirov.
“Via email we randomly asked alumni and students to rank their choices out of the four presented. That was the top ranked selection,” said Doug Hupke, executive director of the Alumni and Constituent Relations & Annual Giving.
“I like to believe that the Gator is the protector of all that is SF State. I like to call the statue the ‘Guardian Gator’,” Hupke said.
The idea started about seven years ago by Ellen Griffin, then associate vice president, and it became possible thanks to the 2015 senior class gift.
The goal in 2015 was to raise $48,000, but only a little over $40,000 was raised. “Alumni and community members will have an opportunity to purchase bricks to fund the full cost of the statue,” Hupke said.
Hupke said that the 2015 senior class gift would not cover the total cost of the statue.
“The bricks were a way to get alumni involved and also help pay for the statue,” Hupke said.
Current students and alumni can purchase a plaque for $200 and the bricks will hold up to three lines with 23 characters each, according to the SF State Alumni Association Facebook page. The installation of the bricks will be in October.

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