By Lyle Dunn - For the Cal Times
A crowd full of Cal U alumni, staff, board members and students gathered behind the newly remodeled Herron Recreation and Fitness Center in anticipation of the new mascot statue last Saturday.
Many alumni board members, including President Angelo Armenti, Jr., were present to help dedicate the Vulcan statue as part of the California University tradition.
“I’m pleased to be here today representing my fellow alumni, as we dedicate this magnificent sculpture of our Cal U Vulcan,” said Rosemary Bucchianeri, president of the alumni association board of directors.
“I hope that this incredible piece of art will add to the pride that current students, our future alumni, feel at our university,” she said.
The unveiling of the Vulcan statue, the god of fire and volcanoes, as well as the blacksmith and armor smith of the gods according to Roman mythology, was the very first event of Homecoming weekend at Cal U.
The bronze statue stands at least 12 feet tall and weighs over 2,000 pounds. It commemorates an icon that has been part of a Cal U tradition for over 75 years. The statue is posed as if the mighty Vulcan is ready for battle with his hammer in the left hand of the statue.
The Student Association Incorporated (SAI) provided funding for this commission as well as the softball sculpture (2001) in front of the Natali Student Center and the women’s basketball sculpture in front of Hamer (2005).
“It began with an idea with President Armenti which continued with the support and funds from SAI and culminated with the artistic work of Alan Cottrill,” said Jackie Davis, president of SAI and student government.
“This is something that we’re all going to be proud of as we look back on our years here as California University,” said Jim Lokay, a Cal U alumni.
“As a member of the SAI board of directors, I’m proud to have a role in making this a reality,” he said.
“It’s a focal point and, quoting Rosemary Bucchianeri, will be a conversation piece.”
With it’s bold prowess and aggression, the statue of the Vulcan was made to bring inspiration to all students and alumni at Cal U.
“Power, hard work, mental and physical prowess, all these words describe the Vulcan,” said Dennis Laskey, head coach of the men’s soccer team.
“Every athletic team, every student athlete and every coach here at Cal U realizes and appreciates the symbolism of our school mascot,” he said.
“The Vulcan will now be a permanent, physical part of this campus.”
This sculpture wasn’t just made for all of the athletic teams, but for everyday students as well, who see this mighty god as an inspiration.
“This new sculpture of the Vulcan will also provide Cal U and our athletic teams with a great measure of support,” said Frank Ehrensberger, a student athlete of Cal U.
“This statue will inspire us both inside and outside of the classroom,” he said.
“I am particularly proud and pleased with SAI’s involvement in this project. A project which brings life to Cal U’s Vulcan,” said Davis.
“The Vulcan spirit helps us to remember and celebrate our past as we look to our future,” she said.
The statue was made by sculptor Alan Cottrill, who also made the other statues around campus, such as the bust of Robert Eberly outside of the manderpoint for many ceremonies and students will be able to touch the hammer for good luck before football games and other athletic contests,” Armenti said.
There was also another event adding on to the unveiling of the Vulcan statue called “The Ring of Fire,” which had to be cancelled.
“We had originally intended to have he Ring of Fire at the base of the sculpture, but that’s not going to be feasible,” said Angela Burrows, director of public affairs. “The mechanics are just going to be impossible at this point. The wiring that would have to be done, the piping that had to be done, would be very difficult.”
Even without the “Ring of Fire” ceremony, the Vulcan statue is truly a magnificent site to grab one’s attention.
“Homecoming is a great time for sharing memories,” said Bucchianeri. “But as the sculpture reminds us; Vulcan pride never goes out of style. It is just one more reason to come back to Cal U.”
“I hope that every student that passes it feels the sense of Vulcan pride,” Armenti said. “It is a proud reminder to everyone that we have a wonderful tradition.”