The campus community and its guests had a new attraction to check out this fall, thanks to the Class of 2019. An inquisitive Great Horned Owl perched on a tree stump, hand sculpted from a reclaimed section of Eastern White Pine by local artist Ken Packie, is permanently perched in front of Ely Student Center to represent the University’s mascot.
Installed in early May, the owl and its perch stand approximately six feet tall. Packie, the owner of Berkshire Mountain Sculpture, is a well-known area wood carver. Using a photo as a reference, he expertly carves with a chainsaw to produce much of his work, including the owl, which took about 20 hours to complete.
With other colleges sporting their mascot as a campus statue, the 2019 Class Council decided to pursue this idea as its class gift. “Ken created a ‘larger than life’ masterpiece,” says Shane Stocker ’19, class president. The front of Ely was selected as a nesting location so the Owl would avoid full sunshine, salted winter walkways, and irrigation systems to prolong its life expectancy. “I find the location fitting as many will pass by it each day, including people on campus tours,” says Stocker. “It is rewarding to see the Owl there to remind us of what we achieved.”