Wildcat statue symbolic of unity

Chloe+Anderson

Chloe Anderson

North Wind Staff

While strolling past Jamrich, you may have noticed a small construction project just past the front doors. Thanks to a donation from the estate of Gil Ziegler, a former Board of Trustees member, a bronze wildcat statue will soon stand atop a large stone overlooking the courtyard.

The erection of a bronze statue is not unprecedented; Michigan Tech unveiled a Husky statue at their university in 2014. Of course, we couldn’t let such an inferior school outdo us. In seriousness though, Northern Michigan University was long overdo for a symbol of unity, especially considering what feels like a complete reinvention of campus in the last few years. With so much unused space in the heart of campus, the decoration will offer a unfiying presence.

However, this statue is more than a decoration to please the wandering eye. The wildcat is not transient, but tradition. Time seems fleeting to the Northern student as renovations and reconstruction alter campus irrecognizably. In a time when we are surrounded by rapid change, the wildcat exemplifies the spiritual connection of Northern’s past and present. Cast in bronze, history
is immortalized in the sculpture, built to last long after the university passes from our hands to the next generation.

As students, we have a lot that sets us apart. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs and passions can often seem like barriers to student unity. Yet, regardless of where we’re from, who we support or what our plans are for the future, we all have one thing in common; we chose to be Wildcats. That statue is more than a molded piece of metal; it’s an embodiment of Northern pride. Transcending the times and the problems that plague it, the sculpture stands a proud symbol of omnipresent school spirit permeating students. It doesn’t just reflect our identity, but offers us belonging in the ever-growing story of Northern. In the face of change and uncertainty, the bronze symbol is an expression of the will to preserve tradition.

What may seem like a small alteration of the campus courtyard actually represents much more. Thanks to the philanthropy of Ziegler, the campus community has a physical symbol of our shared history. Whether we’re cheering at hockey games or watching the northern lights from a beach, we’re Wildcats.