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Northwest dedicated its Bobby Bearcat statue during Homecoming activities Saturday. Left to right are Student Senate President Elizabeth Motazedi; sculpture artist Brandon Crandall; Northwest friend and donor Ron Houston; Joe Jasinski, the son of Dr. John and Denise Jasinski; and Northwest Interim President Dr. Clarence Green. (Photos by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Northwest dedicated its Bobby Bearcat statue during Homecoming activities Saturday. Left to right are Student Senate President Elizabeth Motazedi; sculpture artist Brandon Crandall; Northwest friend and donor Ron Houston; Joe Jasinski, the son of Dr. John and Denise Jasinski; and Northwest Interim President Dr. Clarence Green. (Photos by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Oct. 23, 2022

Bobby Bearcat statue dedicated as exhibit of University pride


Northwest Missouri State University, during Homecoming activities Saturday, dedicated a new campus landmark that exhibits the University’s pride while honoring the institution’s 10th president and first lady.

The new statue depicting Bobby Bearcat stands east of the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse near College Park Drive and was placed Oct. 13 in honor of Dr. John and Denise Jasinski for their service to Northwest and the community.

The statue was made possible by Ron Houston, a friend of Northwest who has generously supported numerous building projects and academic initiatives. Born and raised in nearby Hopkins, Missouri, Houston attended Northwest for three years as a pre-engineering major and then completed his industrial engineering degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Today, he is president of J.L. Houston Company, a manufacturer of steel storage tanks.

“Universities across the nation have erected statues of their mascots for decades,” Northwest Interim President Dr. Clarence Green said during Saturday’s dedication ceremony. “What makes us stand apart from everyone else is ours is Bobby Bearcat. What we have before us is a representation of family, culture, connection, a rich history and great pride. Future students, current students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends now have another university symbol on our campus to take pride in. Our campus will continue to change, but something that will remain constant and an image of our great community will be this statue.”

Although the makeup of Bobby Bearcat, Northwest’s costumed mascot, has changed through the decades, he remains a spirit leader and goodwill ambassador for the University. Northwest adopted its nickname in 1916 after being dubbed “Bearcats” by an opposing coach. Though variations appeared at events and on Homecoming floats, it wasn’t until the 1970s that a Bobby Bearcat costume was created by the art department and worn at Bearcat athletics contests.  

Northwest's new statue depicting Bobby Bearcat stands east of the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse near College Park Drive.

Northwest's new statue depicting Bobby Bearcat stands east of the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse near College Park Drive.

Brandon Crandall, a freelance sculpture artist, designed and sculpted the statue with the goal of presenting the figure as a source of Northwest pride while honoring the University’s beloved mascot. The bronze statue, which stands about 8 feet tall and weighs about 650 pounds, is the largest piece Crandall has produced in his 16 years as a sculpture artist.

“My goal was to create a vision of Bobby that was strong and with presence, a staple for the University for countless years to come,” Crandall said. “I believe we’ve achieved this goal while leveraging the traditions of the past and creating a focal point for the future.”

Student Senate President Elizabeth Motazedi, senior from Joplin, Missouri, who is majoring in social studies education with an emphasis in history, said the sculpture will become a focal point on the Northwest campus that evokes memories and helps create new ones.

“Many things have changed, but something that will remain is this Bearcat statue,” Motazedi said. “We have a saying here at Northwest that goes, ‘Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.’ This statue will stay forever, in its moment in time for many, whether it reminds students of the time their parents made them get a photo, a sign of good luck or some of the best years of their life, each student can come to this statue to remember and know that once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.”

Dr. John Jasinski served as president of Northwest from 2009 until departing last spring in addition to serving the University from 1986 to 2001 as a faculty member, department chair and associate provost. Under his leadership, the University maintained peer-leading metrics across measures such as retention, graduation, placement, student satisfaction, student engagement and composite financial index as part of its proud history of performance excellence.

Denise, in addition to serving as Northwest’s first lady, was a homemaker, raising the couple’s four children and two dogs. She also was an active community member, volunteering as executive director of the Maryville Downtown Improvement Organization, at St. Gregory Barbarigo Parish and its Catholic school, and with North Star Advocacy Center, a resource for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She also worked at Northwest from 1991 to 1998 as the academic coordinator for Upward Bound.

While the Jasinskis could not attend Saturday’s dedication, Joe, the second of their four children, was present on their behalf.  

“This statue, Bobby Bearcat, represents all that’s good about Northwest – the high performance culture, good people focused on achieving great things together, and of course, being a Bearcat, learning, connecting, caring, and showing pride,” Joe said. “It represents a town built on family values, a special community, a special family. I know my parents are deeply grateful not only for this incredible honor but for each and every moment our family was blessed to have living here with all of you. They gave so much of themselves in uplifting Northwest in the community and our entire family is extremely thankful to have been a part of a much larger effort to enhance the standing of both the university and our community.”



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