UNCW unveils new seahawk sculpture

William Becker, Staff Writer

UNC Wilmington (UNCW) recently held a small ceremony and celebration to unveil a new sculpture on campus. 

This new sculpture, which like many of the statues and sculptures on campus, was created by Dumay Gorham. It features two seahawks standing on the edge of the nest. 

Echoing another infamous sculpture of a seahawk (also created by Gorham) on campus that is often used in graduation photos, it seems symbolic that this newest creation stands in front of four freshmen dorms, Graham-Hewlett, Galloway, Pelican hall and Sandpiper hall. The construction of the statue came just after the opening of Pelican and Sandpiper halls.  

“It’s together with the idea of the other seahawk at the other end of campus. This kind of represents a beginning, or getting started,” said UNCW Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “I think it’s important. It’s symbolic of the future… It’s the beginning of a new year and we’re very excited about it. Unfortunately, we’re very cautious and we’ve been very cautious with our students, faculty, and visitors to make sure no one gets sick.”

According to Peter Groenendyk, UNCW’s Director of Housing and Residence Life, the commission for the statue was around $80,000. The sculpture took six months for Gorham to complete from start to finish, although the design phase reportedly took “several months.” 

“The first one, even though it really wasn’t planned in the beginning to be, became kind of a graduation icon,” said Gorham, the sculpture artist. “People would take photos in front of it every year at graduation. I’ve had photos of families and multiple generations taking photos in front of it. The theory behind this one, installed in the new freshmen quad, is kind of a beginning of that journey so hopefully the incoming freshmen and their families can use this one for a photo op and create those memories, same way the graduating class uses the one up front.”

Others in attendance of this event included Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Eddie Stuart, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Brian Victor, Susan Vanecek (wife of the late Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Pat Leonard), SGA President Matt Talone, Director of Transition Programs Christina Logan, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs-Facilities Mark Morgan, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Mike Walker and Mrs. Katherine Sartarelli.

“It’s a huge honor and it’s exciting for me to have my work in such a visible place,” said Gorham. “These public art installations, a lot of people are able to enjoy them across the board. You don’t have to be a student at UNCW to come take a look or enjoy it.”