PHOTOS BY LAURA PARENTEAU
On Dec. 3, the UF campus got a little brighter.
Students, faculty, staff and Gainesville community members joined President Kent Fuchs at the official lighting ceremony for a new gator sculpture on the lawn of the University Auditorium.
The steel sculpture — which is about 8 feet tall and 8.5 feet in diameter — has been created over the past five weeks by Gainesville artist and blacksmith Leslie Tharp, who earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the UF School of Art + Art History in 2008.
“The concept of the piece is the celebration of light,” Tharp said. “The semester is ending, and for a lot of people the holiday could mean so many different things, so we wanted to focus in on the theme of light.”
The Lighting of the Gator event was complete with cookies, hot chocolate and hot apple cider, and holiday songs performed by the University Chamber Singers.
“We wanted to create a way for the UF community to come together as students complete their exams, papers and projects and as we celebrate the end of the year and the start of the winter holidays,” said President Fuchs. “What better way than with an elegant and whimsical alligator sculpture that will light up the night in the heart of our campus in December?”
This article was adapted from UF News.