Lew Hunnicutt hit the ground running 11 months ago when he was named the new assistant provost and campus director of the University of Georgia Griffin Campus. One of his top priorities is to clear up the misconception that the campus is not really a part of UGA.
“We ARE the University of Georgia. We just happen to be located in Griffin,” said Hunnicutt.
On one of his first visits to Athens, Hunnicutt noticed the plethora of fiberglass Uga bulldog mascots located around town. He quickly learned that the statues were originally part of a fundraiser for charities led by the Athens-Oconee Junior Women’s Club. More than 35 larger-than-life “Dawgs” adorned the downtown corridor of the Classic City for 10 years before being auctioned off to benefit AIDS research.
Hunnicutt quickly set in motion plans for the Griffin Campus to have its first Uga Bulldog mascot statue. The statue came painted solid white, but Greg Huber, training coordinator in the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, donated his time to transform it into a traditionally painted Uga.
Southern Crescent Technical College Automotive Collision Instructor Robert Hagen assisted with the first Bulldog statue by adding the final touch — automotive clear coating to help Uga survive the outdoors. “It was great to see how the Southern Crescent students reacted to the statue,” Huber said. “They all gathered around and took each other’s pictures with it. It was already doing its job.”
This first statue, which now rests in the quad behind the Flynt Building, will serve as the campus mascot. The statue is located in an area Hunnicutt calls “the hub” of the campus — beside the future Mule Barn Café, facing the Student Learning Center (SLC).
“I am deeply appreciative of Greg Huber’s vision and talent for bringing Uga to life. Greg’s work will sit proudly on the quad for many years to come and will be a great source of pride for all of us,” Hunnicutt said. “Much thanks goes to Southern Crescent Technical School for the seal coat job. Their work will make sure Uga shines for years to come. It would be awesome to see Ugas and Southern Crescent Tigers together downtown on every corner.”
Hunnicutt would like to see many additional Bulldog statues around campus and in and around Griffin and Spalding County.
“My focus is to take the campus out into the community and what better way to do that,” he said. “I can see one wearing glasses or something scholarly by the SLC and one with a graduation cap by the Woodroof Pavilion where we hold graduation and one at the UGA Research and Education Garden. My pie-in-the-sky goal is to have one at every building on campus in the not too distant future.”
In addition to the Uga statue, Ryan Hodgson, head of the UGA Griffin Campus grounds crew, and his team have brought the UGA “G” back to life on the western edge of the main campus facing the expressway. Hodgson’s team completely redesigned the close to 2,000 square foot “G” and made it structurally sound with brick chips as the final touch.
The lawn logo was originally the brainchild of Christopher Brannon, former UGA Griffin Campus groundskeeper, some 15 years ago. At that time, the “G” was painted white with lawn paint, which is expensive and must be frequently freshened up. It was later painted red.
“The super “G” is back, and while it is not red, it does bring back the spirit of the super “G” and matches the rest of our campus structures with its brick chip filling. It’s a better “G” than it’s ever been because Ryan has painstakingly planned it out. The turf paint just isn’t feasible because painting grass is never permanent,” Hunnicutt said.
For more information about the UGA Griffin Campus and its programs, go to www.griffin.uga.edu.