University of Memphis celebrates centennial with new tiger statue

(WMC-TV) - Friday, students at the University of Memphis are celebrating 100 years by reflecting on the past and leaving something behind so they are always remembered.

From down low in the courtyard to above on the balcony, Memphis Tiger fans were all over the University center to celebrate their centennial.

"It's really cool being a part of it," said senior Gian Gozun.

They were all waiting to get their first look at a life sized, bronze statue of Tom, the university's mascot.

"Seeing this thing being built for the last few weeks it's just kind of cool to see it all come together," said Tony Long.

Even the real Tom the tiger was on hand to see his statue, a project that took sculptor David Alan Clark nearly nine months.

"Whether you're a writer sculpture artist most for your work is done by yourself in a studio and no one sees that so it's really energizing to see such a positive reaction," Clark said.

Cindy Forman graduated from the university, but also the proud mother of Tom's caretaker.

"I've seen this tiger since he was a baby and its close to our heart to see him up there in a beautiful brown statue they did a beautiful job," Forman said.

More than 700 people made donations for the statue that Clark worked on in his home state of Wyoming.

Underneath the statue is a time capsule filled with items made by the students. They plan to add to the capsule every 25 years and then open it again in 100 years.

Gozun plans to come back whenever he can, because he has a piece of history inside the capsule.

"A four page paper, just my thoughts on the university, how proud I am to be here and an alum," Gozun continued. "It's supposed to be unveiled 25 years from now and I hope to be here when it comes out."

After a two day road trip earlier this Week, Tom is finally home on campus at the University of Memphis.

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