Falcon statue donated for Stroh Center entrance

BGSU’s progress toward a new convocation center has received a boost from Charlotte, N.C., philanthropist Irwin Belk, who has donated $100,000 to cast and build the largest Falcon statue in the world as part of the front entrance to the Stroh Center.

The 23-foot statue will be part of the Falcon Spirit Plaza, which will serve as a front entrance not only to the new arena, but to the BGSU campus and community.

“We are grateful to Mr. Belk for his gift to the athletic department and the University,” said Athletics Director Greg Christopher. “The Falcon statue will provide a terrific entrance to the Stroh Center and campus, capturing the spirit of BGSU's students and alumni. Mr. Belk's passion for college athletics has played out through statue sculptures on many campuses. We are honored that he has chosen to help BGSU in this manner.”

Belk, a former member of the North Carolina House of Representatives and state senator, is a retired officer and director of The Belk Group, Inc., which operates department stores throughout the southeastern United States.

A former track and field standout at the University of North Carolina, Belk has a long history of charitable giving. His philanthropic resume includes serving as president of the American Cancer Society Foundation for over 40 years. He received that organization’s highest award, the Merit Award, in 2002. His other interests include the U.S. Olympic Committee, which awarded him the Olympic Order that same year.

Belk has commissioned about 50 statues for colleges and universities nationwide.

“I am pleased to help the Falcon statue become a reality at Bowling Green,” said Belk. “The University has a long tradition of success, both academically and athletically. This statue and the Falcon Spirit Plaza will help to provide an attractive entryway to the new convocation center.”

The Falcon statue will be created by sculptor Jon Hair, owner of the Jon Hair Studio of Fine Art in Cornelius, N.C. Longtime BGSU athletics booster John Bureau is donating the concrete as part of the Falcon Spirit Plaza.

Hair is among the country’s most highly commissioned monument sculptors. He is a member of the National Sculpture Society, and his work has appeared in galleries, private collections and on a growing number of corporate and college campuses. In 2003 he was designated an “Official Sculptor to the U.S. Olympic Team” and an “Official Sculptor to the U.S. Olympic Committee.”

Construction of the Stroh Center is scheduled to begin in 2010 with completion in 2012.


July 21, 2008