Smokey has always been a familiar sight on the UT campus, but soon the famous mascot will be immortalized with a series of statues.
The University of Tennessee will unveil 10 statues of the famous bluetick coonhound mascot throughout the Knoxville campus on Saturday, April 13. The statue series will pay tribute to the 10 dogs that have served as the university’s official mascot since 1953.
The official unveiling will take place before the annual Orange and White Game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the new statue near the Pedestrian Bridge by the Student Union Plaza.
Visitors can see the statues at the UT Gardens, the Tennessee Recreation Center for Students (TRECS), the corner of Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Phillip Fulmer Way, Circle Park, Hodges Library, the courtyard between Strong Hall and Clement Hall, the Student Union Pedestrian Bridge, Gate 21 of Neyland Stadium, the Hill, and the Engineering Quad.
The idea came from Student Government Association members who wanted a statue on campus to honor Smokey. The students brought the idea to university administrators. Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Jeff Maples helped move the project forward.
“We’re proud of our campus traditions, and this seemed like a unique and exciting way to celebrate one of our longest-running traditions,” said Maples.
A committee of staff and students was formed and decided to expand on the idea, suggesting that the campus erect multiple statues—one to honor each Smokey.