October 08, 2014

Artist Robert Shure with the clay model of the Charging

Goat in his Woburn studio.

Goats might not be known for their fierce personalities, but a new sculpture on campus is going to make anyone think twice about provoking these commonly domesticated creatures.

Everyone is invited to the unveiling of WPI’s new Charging Goat sculpture on Saturday, Oct. 11, at noon. Standing guard over the traffic circle between the new parking garage and the Sports and Recreation Center, the bronze sculpture by artist Robert Shure will be revealed with a celebration that will include remarks by President Leshin, the two Senior Class Gift Committee of 2013 chairs, and even the descendants of the original caretaker of WPI’s first goat mascot.

“This is the symbol of WPI and athletics. I wanted it to look like it had an attitude and was strong.” – Artist Robert Shure

Shure, the artist behind WPI’s other famed goat, the Proud Goat that anchors the Quad, says the new Charging Goat is like his other iconic WPI sculpture, but more intimidating and fiercer to represent WPI’s athletic teams.

As the class gift of the Class of 2013, the sculpture was first proposed two years ago. Once the class decided on the gift and raised funds, Shure’s process began. “I started with a handful of thumbnail sketches,” says Shure, and the committee picked the one they liked best. “The challenge was to try to put some personality into it,” he says. “This is the symbol of WPI and athletics. I wanted it to look like it had an attitude and was strong.”

Jennifer Gamache, WPI’s director of annual giving, worked closely with Shure. Although the Charging Goat isn’t an athletics gift, says Gamache, it does represent WPI’s athletic teams with its location.

The Charging Goat sculpture will be mounted on a

boulder artist Robert Shure found near his Skylight Studios.

Catherine Duffty and Sydney Baker, co-chairs of the Senior Class Gift Committee for 2013, will attend the unveiling and see a completion of the project. Duffty, says Gamache, described in a letter why the chosen location was most apt for the goat, saying the spot was such a campus hub. Everyone funnels onto the campus from that point—new students, prospective students, visiting rival teams, and current students and families. And with the new rooftop athletic fields and the Sports and Recreation center nearby, the charging goat is a reminder of WPI’s winning athletic teams. The area provided a location the committee believed would make the Class of 2013 proud.

Long WPI’s unofficial mascot, the goat has represented WPI since 1891 when several students brought a live goat to a football game and named student Gompei Kuwada as the official goat keeper (due to his initials).

The tradition survived (but, alas, not the goat) and members of the Kuwada family, some of whom recently compiled the family’s history and its link to WPI, will attend the unveiling, as well.

Shure’s body of award-winning work includes many conservation projects and original sculptures, including Boston Children’s Hospital iconic FAO Schwartz Bear, the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial, the Arnold “Red” Auerbach bronze relief at North Station, and the Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial. He has created many animal sculptures (including the leopard guarding over Huntington Avenue at Wentworth) and says a goat rearing up on its hind legs was a welcome challenge. The sculpture stands on a boulder Shure found near Skylight Studios, his Woburn studio, and had it moved to WPI to give it a more natural look. Eventually, the area will include smaller boulders and natural plantings, says Gamache.

The project aligns Shure’s desire to create work that can inspire others and WPI’s desire for a memorable image. “In the last years, I have been trying to put a lot of motion into my work,” Shure says. “What’s better than a charging goat? It’s the epitome of motion.”