Carnegie Mellon University

students petting scotty sculpture

May 12, 2022

Scotty Sculpture’s Forever Home

Alumnus-sculpted artwork greets visitors and CMU community members on campus

By Kelly Saavedra

A dog finding its forever home is cause for celebration.

The Tartan community formally celebrated Carnegie Mellon University’s new bronze Scottish terrier sculpted by College of Fine Arts alumnus Ray Kaskey on April 8 in Merson Courtyard outside the Cohon University Center as part of Spring Carnival & Reunion Weekend.

The alumni involved discuss bringing the vision of the Scotty sculpture to life.

Kathy Sabec Dax, a College of Fine Arts alumna, who provided the funds for the project with her late husband, College of Engineering alumnus F. Robert Dax, hopes the sculpture will encourage fun and lasting traditions, interaction and photographs similar to Penn State’s limestone Nittany Lion Shrine and Pitt’s bronze panther statue.

“I'll be so excited to see students respond with affection for their Scotty, a symbol of loyalty and pride,” Kathy says.

“A Scotty dog really does symbolize the characteristics of what a good mascot represents, and we have a mascot that is really cool and adorable. Fierce, if it were attacked. But you’re not afraid to go up and rub its ears.”

Or its nose.

Ray admits he's on the fence, so to speak, about the nose rubbing, since over time the oils from people’s skin will give it a polished look.

But Lawrence Welker, College of Fine Arts alumnus and owner of Laran Bronze, the foundry entrusted with casting the sculpture, actually likes the idea.

“It’s sculpture, it’s meant to be touched. It’s perfect,” Lawrence says.

technical designs of the sculpture

Selecting a Sculptor

In May 2020, CMU requested proposals from several sculptors and selected College of Fine Arts alumnus Ray Kaskey’s submission. As part of his submission, he created a half-scale model to visualize his design.

finding the best model dog

Finding the Perfect Model

This is Bean, a Scottish terrier. Ray Kaskey used Bean as a model for the sculpture. The confident, independent, spirited and loyal breed was named CMU’s official mascot in 2007.

artist creating the sculpture

Creating the Sculpture

Working from a clay model, a team at Laran Bronze, a local foundry owned by College of Fine Arts alumnus Lawrence Welker, cast the sculpture. At first, the sculpture had a bright, gold finish, which Lawrence then hand-colored in a patina process.

Scott sculpture on campus

Bringing Scotty Home

Once complete, Scotty was ready to find a home. Set atop a sturdy granite base, Scotty now stands proud in Merson Courtyard, waiting to greet CMU community members and visitors.

CMU students Jacques Moye and William Curvan were thrilled to make history as the first official nose rubbers at the sculpture’s installation in November 2021. They placed a Tartan plaid scarf on the statue, rubbed Scotty's nose for good luck and expressed their approval of this new addition to campus with two thumbs up.

"I think the sculpture is a great way of honoring the great diversity in our student population, helping bring students together and allowing us to take pride in the fact we’re all part of the Carnegie Mellon University family,” Jacques says. “It's my hope that the Scotty statue will soon become a CMU tradition, rubbing the nose for good luck!"

Ray provided a handle on the back of the sculpture in the form of its tail, so people can pull themselves up onto the base, which doubles as a bench. Visitor tours now conclude at the Scotty statue.

“The whole courtyard being a semi-circular, mostly enclosed space, it’s like a warm hug,” Kathy says.