STARKVILLE, Miss.--One of Mississippi State University's most recognizable and beloved icons will be immortalized when two life-sized statues in his likeness are placed on campus this fall.
A new bronze cast of MSU's current Bully mascot, TaTonka, complete with his trademark harness and cowbell, will be located at the entrance to The Junction, a green space just south of the Leo Seal M-Club on campus. It will replace the existing statue, on loan from Student Affairs, which will be relocated to the Colvard Student Union.
The second statue will be placed on an existing base located near the west entrance to Lloyd Ricks Hall.
Earlier this year, celebrated Eupora-based sculptor Edmond Shumpert was commissioned by university officials to create the artwork. It is expected to be completed by the end of July and mounted on the existing marble base early in August.
University planner Roger Baker, who is heading the project, said the project's goals were simple: to commission an aesthetically pleasing work of art that symbolizes the pride of being a part of the MSU family.
"From the very beginning, the expectation was to have a statue that embodied the spirit of MSU by portraying a lifelike representation of one of the most visible and beloved symbols of this great university," Baker said.
He added: "I believe all of our alumni and fans will be pleased when they see the finished product, because Mr. Shumpert is known for creating terrifically lifelike and accurate portraits of his subjects."
Shumpert, a West Point native, is an award-winning artist whose works have been displayed worldwide over the course of his 39-year career as a professional sculptor.
Among his most acclaimed works are "Neptune," an eight-foot fountain located in Northridge, Calif., and a life-sized statue of football great and Mississippi native Brett Favre located at Hancock High School in Kiln.
Baker said plans are in the works for an unveiling and dedication ceremony, though no specifics have yet been arranged.
For more information about Shumpert, including photos of his various works, visit www.edmondshumpert.com.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.