During the 2006 Homecoming Weekend, the university unveiled its newest symbol of Wildcat pride; a larger-than-life bronze statue installed on the street side of Memorial Field.
The wildcat sculpture is the first piece of commissioned artwork on the UNH campus. The $160,000 project was funded entirely with private gifts, including support from the Edward '42H and Selma '42 Bacon Simon Fund, many alumni donors, the Alumni Association, and the UNH Parents Association.
The sculpture was created by Matthew Gray Palmer, of Friday Harbor, Washington. Chosen by a committee of UNH staff and faculty members, alumni and parents, as well as professional artists, Palmer was among 40 artists who submitted proposals for the project.
"We couldn't have picked a better artist for the job" said Athletics Director Marty Scarano. "We had very specific expectations at the start. We wanted it to look powerful and express intelligence, aggression, and cunning - characteristics we consider central to athletics here."
Palmer, who specializes in large public works of art, hopes his latest 850-pound creation will not only touch people, but be touched by them, literally. "The public work I do gets an artistic expression out where people can touch it, feel the patterns, put their arms around it."
Gregg Sanborn, executive director of the UNH Alumni Association, predicts the sculpture will quickly become one of the "have-to" places to visit on the UNH campus for students, alumni, parents, visitors and UNH sports fans. "The wildcat mascot is part of our heritage and our tradition. You hear the phrase 'Go 'Cats!' all the time, said Sanborn. "The sculpture will be a handsome and striking reminder of that heritage."