MARCUS CONNOLLY / THE PAISANO
UTSA’s friendly Roadrunner mascot finally has a permanent spot on campus. Replacing the previous statue, “Border Crossing,” and immortalized in half a ton of bronze, Rowdy has been placed at the head stairs in the Sombrilla courtyard where he will inspire generations of future Roadrunners. On the base of the statue is a small plaque inscribed with the famous Roadrunner creed: “Now and forever, I am a Roadrunner.”
The energy of the crowd during the commencement ceremony held last Wednesday, Aug. 2 was electrifying.
The ceremony began with a quick performance of the UTSA Roadrunner fight song by the Spirit of San Antonio Band, to excite the crowd and remind all in attendance about last Friday’s football game against the University of Houston.
UTSA Student Government Association (SGA) President Zack Dunn spoke first, explaining the story behind the statue. According to Dunn, the SGA first considered plans for creating a statue of Rowdy in 2011. Shortly after, the men of Sigma Pi fraternity started a fundraising campaign for the statue.
At the same time, UTSA’s Associate Athletics Director Jim Goodman, aware of the movement to create a Rowdy statue, stumbled upon an episode of the “Texas Country Reporter” featuring sculptor R.G. Box.
In awe of Box’s work, Goodman reached out to discuss a statue for UTSA. After a final fundraising push by the UTSA Alumni Association, the statue was delivered to the university during the fall semester of 2013. The final cost of the statue was about $25,000.
President Romo also spoke at the ceremony, emphasizing that the creation of the statue was a great cause.
“Why?” he asked the audience. “Because we may be one of the only campuses of the great (Texas) campuses that doesn’t have a publicly displayed mascot.”
Romo explained that mascots are an integral element of great
universities because they inspire and excite both faculty and students, which leads to increased pride and appreciation for the university.
“I wouldn’t mess with a Roadrunner; they’re fierce,” stated Romo.
Throughout his speech, Romo stressed the importance of student involvement on campus. “This is a good example of student leadership. (The SGA) began this movement to raise the money. They really worked hard at getting all of you, our students, fired up about it.”
After thanking the faculty for their assistance with the project, Romo handed the microphone over to Dunn, who led the crowd in an ear-rattling, whisper-to-shout “UTSA” chant. Dunn then introduced the statue’s sculptor, R.G. Box.
Although brief, Box’s speech was touching. He spoke about the statue as if it were a close friend, stating that “(Rowdy) is a good guy — I talk to him all the time.”
Dunn then led the crowd in a 10-second countdown for the unveiling — the sound of the count was deafening. After a few seconds of troubleshooting — the cloth covering snagged on some of Rowdy’s feathers — Rowdy was unveiled to thunderous applause as confetti and streamers rained down on the courtyard.