Bronze Eagle Statue Unveiled and Dedicated During University’s Fall Family & Alumni Weekend
Perched just above the sidewalks that lead in all directions, from the library to the academic buildings to the Hasty Student Life Center, Reinhardt’s first statue in its 128-year history, a bronze eagle, watches over campus and the students, faculty and staff that call it “home.” On October 22, 2011, during the Fall Family & Alumni Weekend festivities, The Reinhardt Eagle (as it’s officially named) was unveiled and dedicated to the Reinhardt family and community.
“A sacred place for all.”
“This project took two years to complete,” said Caleb Bagby, student body president, during the dedication ceremony. “You will notice the statue has been placed in the heart of the university, thereby becoming a focal point for our beautiful campus and a sacred place for all.
“My guess is that the students will label this statue with some appropriate term of affection, and it will be used as a meeting place by many, as in ‘I’ll meet you at the eagle’ he continued. “I envision a tradition being established where students and alumni, as well as other Eagle fans, pose for pictures with the eagle to mark major life events.
“The people that should be thanked for their contribution to this project are too numerous to list in this short address, but on behalf of the student body, I would like to thank each of you for your generosity and commitment to Reinhardt.”
Class Gift Challenge
As many who love and live there know, Reinhardt is blessed with one of the most beautiful campuses in North Georgia. Nevertheless, the University was missing something—a physical symbol of campus spirit, its mascot, the eagle; therefore, a statue was selected and installed on campus, as funded through a special effort. The statue was given to the University as part of the Class Gift Challenge. The challenge was designed to establish a tradition of philanthropy among current students and recent alumni and to encourage them to give back to Reinhardt. The Class of 2010 rose to the challenge and chose to begin raising funds, along with the Classes of 1993-2014, for the bronze eagle statue to display on campus
“The initial concept for an eagle statue arose from a vision shared by the members of a student-led committee that sought to create something that embodied the soul and character of this 128 year-old institution,” said Bagby. “For more than quarter century, the eagle has played a key role in the spirit of Reinhardt, from representing us on the athletic fields and courts, to symbolizing the pursuits of our hearts and minds as we soar to new heights in and outside the classroom.”
The Challenge continues for each class, giving students and alumni a chance to join this tradition and leave a unique legacy.
The Spirit of the Reinhardt Eagle
“There have been many times in Reinhardt’s history that special dedications have taken place that we were not a part of, including the Bratton Carillion [the bell tower], The College Bell, and many of the historical buildings here on campus,” said Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood, Reinhardt president. “This day, this place, this event, this statue is a legacy for all of us because we can now say we were a part of its dedication to this campus. The spirit of The Reinhardt Eagle will have a special place in our hearts, just as Reinhardt always has for all of us.”
Jennifer Wiggins-Matthews ’90, director of alumni, added to Isherwood’s sentiments. “This a great landmark for all of us – a common meeting place, a photo opportunity, a tradition in the making. Many alumni gave of their time, energy and financial gifts to this project and I want to thank them on behalf of Reinhardt University.”
The Reinhardt Eagle’s addition to the campus marks a very special day for all students—it’s the beginning of a new chapter in the University’s history. In the recent and coming months, new programs in academics and athletics have been or will be added, new buildings will be built, and more students will choose Reinhardt for their college education. But one thing will always remain the same, as Matthews explained, “we all are eagles and we always will be.”
Legacy for Generations
“This is truly a special day in the history of Reinhardt University – a day that demonstrates, in a very prominent way, the values that we hold as a community,” said Bagby. “This statue is destined to forever be a symbol of spirit of this institution and will honor our rich heritage as well as create a legacy for generations of Reinhardt Eagles yet to come.”