UA's First President Will be Lifelike on Campus
When Charles Bunnell returns to the University of Alaska next summer, he'll be walking briskly toward a graduation with mortarboard hat in hand and robe flowing behind him.
A committee of alumni chaired by 1936 graduate Glen Franklin commissioned a statue of Bunnell last July. Cordova sculptor Joan Bugbee Jackson has completed a one-quarter scale statue of Bunnell, the first UA president. She unveiled her work two weeks ago for alumni, a site committee and UA Fairbanks Chancellor Pat O'Rourke.
"I have him in the graduation robes," Jackson said of Bunnell. "It not only signifies his office as president of the university, but hopefully, that's what the students of the university are there for."
The 20.5 inch model in plastilene, an oil- and wax-based clay, captures Bunnell in stride.
Jackson said Bunnell took an active role role in operating the university. "I thought that really expressed that energy he had," she said.
The statue has Bunnell looking to his left. Jackson said she portrayed Bunnell glancing at the space between Signers Hall and the Bunnell Building, toward the Alaska Range, to signify the university's motto, Ad Summum. That means, "To the summit."
Bunnell was in declining health when he stepped down as president of the university in 1949 after 28 years in the job.
"I chose him to be at an age when he was old enough to convey a sense of wisdom in the judgments he made, but also young enough to be vigorous," she said.
The finished sculpture will stand 6 feet 8 inches. The site committee has recommended that the statue be erected in what's now the flower garden east of Signers Hall.
By late December or early January, Jackson hopes to finish an enlarged model of the statue's head. The Shidoni Foundry near Santa Fe, N.M., will enlarge the rest of the statue in plastilene.
Jackson will travel to New Mexico for assembly of the full-scale model, the making of a mold, the creation of a wax model, the making of a second mold, and finally, the pouring and coloring of the bronze.
She said the statue may be completed and shipped here by mid-June. Alumni want to construct and install a pedestal for the piece in time for the dedication during Golden Days in July.
UA Sites named after Charles E. Bunnell