New Frog statue named Ol' Rip

A third of 521 student voters chose the winning name among five finalists.


by Rick Waters '95
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Senior engineering major Kyle Morales of Flower Mound was credited with submitting the winning name for the new bronze horned lizard statue. (Photo by Rick Waters)

Meet Ol' Rip.

That is the name announced today of the bronze horned lizard statue installed last week in the mall between Reed and Scharbauer halls.

Submitted by senior engineering major Kyle Morales of Flower Mound, the name Ol' Rip garnered the approval of about 33 percent of 521 student voters who selected it from five finalists. More than 600 name suggestions were contributed over a five-day period in April. [Historically, the name is Old Rip.]

"It's cool," said a stunned Morales when asked what it means to have his name attached to a campus landmark. "Any time I come back and look at it, it will be pretty cool."

Morales' name and class year appear under "Ol' Rip" on a plaque afixed to the statue. Plans call for a larger marker that details the origin of the name. Morales will also get to have lunch with Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr., who attended the announcement.

"He's part of a new tradition now," said Ann Louden '84 MLA, chancellor’s associate for external relations, who handled the acquisition and modification of the sculpture and worked with TCU360 to choose five finalists. "I think Kyle was a bit restrained in his comments. He might not be able to put this into words today. But I guarantee if you talk to him five years from now, he’ll have a lot more to say.”

Boschini suggested Morales have a future big life moment at the statue.

"You're going to have to get married here," he quipped, drawing laughs from a crowd of on-lookers.

Morales said he suggested the name after reading a story in The TCU Magazine about TCU Athletics hiding a time capsule inside Amon G. Carter Stadium in December. The article referenced the Texas legend of Old Rip, a horned lizard that was buried inside a a time capsule in the cornerstone of the Eastland County Courthouse in 1897.

Thirty-one years after being sealed in a marble box within the cornerstone, the edifice was demolished and the box was opened. According to published reports in 1928, more than 3,000 people came to see what was in the box. Much to everyone’s surprise, Old Rip (named after Rip Van Winkle) was still alive and became an instant celebrity.

PhotoDespite skeptics questioning how the critter could have survived, town folks took him on a tour of the nation that included a stop in Washington D.C. to meet President Calvin Coolidge, according to local news reports.

The sculpture joins the older rusted cordoned steel horned frog statue south of Reed, which was installed in 1984 and is believed to have provided good luck to generations of students who rub its nose before tests.

The new bronze frog was created by artist Joe Spear and initially sat outside the Jane Sauer Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Frog aficionados including John O. Lumpkin, director of the Schieffer School of Journalism, and Eileen O’Donohoe Lumpkin ’68 enjoyed it. The Lumpkins e-mailed a picture of the frog to Chancellor Victor J. Boschini who liked what he saw.

The only problem was the sculpture was bit too sharp in the horns. Boschini was worried that children who would want to climb on the frog could get hurt.

“We had him dulled down,” added Louden.

The name-the-frog contest, which was co-sponsored by TCU360, was such as success that the administration will consider using a student-driven process for an appropriate event in the future, Louden said.

"We don't want to overdo it, but it's fun to include the campus in a new tradition," she said.


On the Web:
TCU360 coverage

From the archives:
New bronze frog statue installed



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