FAU Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Unveils Mascot Statue During Stadium Opening Weekend
BOCA RATON, FL (October 21, 2011) – Florida Atlantic University recently celebrated the opening of the new 30,000-seat football stadium on its Boca Raton campus. Celebratory events included a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday and the unveiling of a bronze statue of Owlsley, FAU’s mascot, on Saturday, among other events.
“What a monumental time for FAU,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. “The stadium will not only provide a traditional university experience for our students, but it will also serve as a gathering place for the entire community. We sincerely thank all who were involved in this landmark project.”
Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, a bronze statue of Head Football Coach Howard Schnellenberger was unveiled inside the stadium’s southwest entrance. The statue was created by artist Susan Cochran, and was commissioned by longtime FAU football supporters Pete and Kerry LoBello and family.
The ribbon cutting ceremony included Head Football Coach Howard Schnellenberger; Student Government President Ayden Maher; Jared Allen, FAU quarterbacks coach and former starting quarterback of FAU’s inaugural football team; Robert J. Stilley, chair of FAU’s Board of Trustees; Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel; Steven Nivet, area president of Regions Bank; Frank T. Brogan, chancellor of the State University System of Florida; Craig Angelos, FAU athletic director; FAU President Mary Jane Saunders; and Ken LaVicka, ESPN 760AM personality and play-by-play commentator for FAU football and men’s basketball, who served as master of ceremonies for the event. The ceremony was followed by a family block party on the FAU Housing Lawn.
On Saturday, pre-game festivities included a flash mob in the Alumni Plaza, followed by the unveiling of the Owlsley statue by President Saunders, Ayden Maher and University Advancement Senior Vice President Randy Talbot. The statue was the senior class gift from the FAU classes of 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. FAU Student Government and the Division of Facilities helped fund the project as well. As part of a new tradition, members of the football team touched the statue for good luck as they passed by during their “Owl Prowl” parade through campus to the stadium.
“One of my biggest dreams has officially become a reality today,” said Schnellenberger. “I have watched this amazing stadium rise over the past year, and it’s a facility people from all over will come to, to watch FAU football and celebrate the collegiate experience with family and friends. This stadium will be the site of many celebrations, and words cannot describe how happy I am to see it come to fruition.”
Home of the Owls football team, the stadium is the centerpiece of FAU’s Innovation Village, located in the north central area of campus. The open-air stadium features 6,000 premium seats, including 24 suites, 26 loge boxes, 1,000 premier club seats and 4,000 priority club seats, and the latest, state-of-the-art amenities including a natural grass field. FAU’s upcoming home games are scheduled for October 22, November 5, November 26 and December 3.
For more information about the FAU Stadium, visit www.fausports.com.
-FAU-Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.