UNCW Increases Its Wingspan with Installation of Second Seahawk Statue

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A new campus landmark that was a vision of the late Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Pat Leonard has become a reality. On Aug. 26, a second Seahawk statue, commissioned by Housing and Residence Life, was installed outside of Pelican and Sandpiper Hall, pod-style residence halls that just opened this fall.
The late “VCPL,” as she was affectionately known, had the idea for incoming students to have their photos taken at the new statue when they enroll and their photos taken at the original statue when they graduate.
“This is a special event for our campus,” said UNCW Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli, who was present at the installation. “During these current trying circumstances, we are very proud to install a landmark that connects the past to our future and serves as a permanent symbol of the resilient Seahawk spirit.”
Both sculptures were designed and created by Wilmington metal sculptor Dumay Gorham. The first statue was installed in 2009 in front of Hoggard Hall at Ike Belk Plaza. Irwin "Ike" Belk commissioned the piece as a personal gift to the university.
Gorham, whose handiwork is also on display at the Center for Marine Science, says all his pieces start with a conversation that arrives at a concept, which leads to rough sketches that become fine drawings. For the newest statue, he worked with the late vice chancellor and Director of Housing and Residence Life Peter Groenendyk, who shared the initial ideas with students. After about four or five evolutions, the parent and fledgling design that reflects the “leaving the nest” theme was the one that was “teal-lighted.”

-- Caroline Cropp