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A new tradition unveiled


Don’t walk on the university seal at Graham Center.

Spin the cube at DM.

Smooch with someone special on the kissing bridge.

And yesterday, in a spirited ceremony in front of the U.S. Century Bank Arena attended by nearly 200 students, alumni, faculty and staff, brand new traditions were created at the unveiling of a 2,000-pound, 7.5-foot-tall statue of the FIU Panther.

“Today we unveil the FIU panther, which we hope will become a traditional gathering place for new graduates to take photographs, FIU athletes and others to touch for good luck, and an object that will spread bad luck to visiting teams,” said University Ombudsman Larry Lunsford, interim vice president for Student Affairs.

The sculpture is the result of the efforts of four Student Government administrations and Rosa Jones, founding professor and vice president emerita for Student Affairs. The statue was dedicated to Jones, who retired in 2012 after 40 years of service to FIU and the community. Jones attended the ceremony where SGA Presidents Laura Fariñas and Pablo Haspel presented her with a plaque and small replica of the statue.

“Let a tradition begin today and cascade forevermore,” said President Mark B. Rosenberg before unveiling the statue. “In many ways this panther is a symbol of hope for our institution. It’s a symbol of the pride we have in our FIU. It’s a symbol of the commitment we have to our incredible environment that nurtures our community.”

The bronze sculpture was designed by Brian P. Hanlon. When asked about his creation, Hanlon said, “My job is to help people feel, connect, think about their relationship to the school in meaningful ways, for just a moment, so they reflect the spirit of the school.”

Hanlon will be creating a second statue for BBC.

TKE brothers Gonzalo Aguilar and Ashraf Spahi take part in the tradition.

TKE brothers Gonzalo Aguilar and Ashraf Spahi take part in the tradition.

“When I graduate in two years I plan on standing in front of that statue with my diploma,” said sophmore Jocelyn Alvarez.

The event featured music by Radiate FM and was a collaboration between the Student Government Association, the Division of Student Affairs, Facilities, and the Division of External Relations.