HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Students, faculty, administrators and supporters of Southern Miss gathered Thursday afternoon to officially dedicate a new centerpiece of Golden Eagle pride that will be enjoyed for decades to come. A ribbon was cut during a ceremony for a 22-foot-tall, bronze golden eagle statue.
It's titled Lofty Return and was created by Idaho artist David Anderson.
It was donated to the university by Texas businessman and USM alumnus Chuck Sciana, who dedicated it to former Southern Miss president Dr. Martha Saunders.
"This statue will be here a long time, a long time after I'm gone," said Sciana. "And all that we hope is that people remember the spirit that was intended, to bring us together as one university family," he said.
"This eagle is awesome, it is just awesome and it means everything to this campus and it will mean everything for generations and generations to come," said Saunders.
USM officials also said Thursday that Sciana donated $1 million towards the restoration and beautification of the campus after the Feb. 10 tornado. He also gave $6 million for the construction of the new College of Business building.
Also today, a smaller version of the golden eagle statue was dedicated on the Gulf Coast campus.