For almost a century, the image of the determined cowboy atop a bucking bronco has been the mascot for Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
The symbolism will set in stone or bronze rather at the Alva campus on Tuesday when officials dedicate a statue of the iconic Ranger.
Designed by noted Oklahoma sculptor Harold Holden, the $150,000 bronze artwork will be erected on the northeast corner of campus.
NWOSU President Janet Cunningham said the Ranger “provides a link from those pioneers who founded the university in 1897 to today’s current generation of students. It represents the spirit, determination and courage of those settlers and inspires our students to apply these characteristics in their daily lives.”
The statue is a gift from former NWOSU President Tom McDaniel, who now is president of Oklahoma City University.
McDaniel and his wife, Brenda, attended NWOSU as undergrads, and in 2000 he became the first graduate to become president. Although he left one year later, he said NWOSU has always had a special place in his heart.
“Brenda and I feel a real attachment to Northwestern and to Alva and we wanted to do something to give back to the university and to do something that would be meaningful for students past, present and future,” McDaniel said. He will be among speakers at Tuesday’s dedication ceremony.
Additional Ranger statues are planned at NWOSU branch campuses in Woodward and Enid, where Holden has a gallery.
The Ranger is among several Holden statues completed this year as part of Oklahoma’s Centennial. On Nov. 16, he’ll dedicate his work “World Champion” a larger than life quarter horse for State Fair Park.
Holden also created the statue at Oklahoma State University of a kneeling cowboy. It memorializes the deadly plane crash involving the OSU basketball team.
In 1909, a dozen years after the founding of the institution, NWOSU developed a reputation as a football powerhouse. A prominent booster suggested naming the team, and Rangers became the popular choice.
The mascot reflected the team’s grit, endurance and pride, but also the work of real rangers who pioneered the lands in northwest Oklahoma.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com
The Associated Press
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