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Statue at Brenau University named after beloved leader
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Noah Clay, 7, talks with Brenau University’s golden tiger mascot Friday afternoon prior to the unveiling of a plaque bearing the new name of the large bronze tiger statue facing Green Street. Noah and his sisters Lily Grace, 5, and Weatherly, 4, were at the event with the mother, Juli Clay, who works at the university. - photo by NAT GURLEY

That giant bronze tiger sitting at Green and Academy streets since March finally has a name.

Brenau University’s statue was officially christened Friday as “Lucile,” a popular choice out of around 350 submissions in the college’s “Name That Tiger” contest it held earlier in the year.

“We looked at a lot of different names,” Brenau President Ed Schrader said. “Goldie was a popular one. I know a lot of you folks thought it was a good one.

“A number of people did submit Lucile.”

The name comes from Lucile Townsend Pearce, wife of former Brenau president Haywood Jefferson Pearce. When her husband died in the 1940s, she took over and served as chairwoman of the committee that ran the college for two years.

“I love the name,” said Emily Stockton, a Brenau 2011 alumna who works in the university’s admissions office. “I think it’s really appropriate.”

Two of Lucile Pearce’s grandchildren, Sissy Lawson and Gayle Dunlap, were at Friday’s naming ceremony. Lawson remains a member on the university’s board of trustees.

Lucile the Golden Tiger may be a girl, but she’s no lightweight. The statue weighs 2,200 pounds and stands more than 7 feet tall. She was installed in March, a gift from North Carolina philanthropist Irwin “Ike” Belk.

While people cheered when the name was announced, there were some who did think Goldie would be more appropriate.

“I thought Goldie sounded better to me,” said freshman Ty Fuller. “I like (the new name) but Goldie would have popped in my head more.”

The winner of the “Name That Tiger” contest was Brenau’s gallery director, Melissa Morgan. She won an iPad.

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