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April 06, 2022

Scotty Sculpture Finds Its Forever Home

By Kelly Saavedra

A dog finding its forever home is cause for celebration.

Carnegie Mellon University's new bronze Scottish terrier, sculpted by College of Fine Arts alumnus Ray Kaskey, found its forever home in Merson Courtyard. The campus community held a formal celebration on April 8, 2022, to welcome the pup.

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,” Dax said. “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.

Kaskey 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,” Welker said.

Physics 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,” Moye said. “It's my hope that the Scotty statue will soon become a CMU tradition, rubbing the nose for good luck!"

Image of group involved with installation standing around Scotty Sculpture
The committee members who worked to bring the vision to life posed for one of the first photos with the new Scotty statue. Pictured above standing are (l-r) Carole Panno, Sue Layton, Don Carter, Bob Reppe, Jenn Rogers, Kathy Dax, Jamison Fielding, Fred "Corky" Donatelli and Brian James. Seated (l-r) are Larry Welker and Ray Kaskey. Not pictured is Marcia Gerwig.

Kaskey 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," Dax said, "is like a warm hug.”

Watch the video to learn more, and let the traditions begin.

sculpture design image

Selecting a Sculptor

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

image of a Scottish terrier

Finding the Perfect Model

This is Bean, a Scottish Highland Terrier. Kaskey used Bean as a model for the sculpture. A confident, independent, spirited and loyal breed, the Scottish Terrier was named CMU's official mascot in 2007.

image of sculpture during creation

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 Welker then hand-colored in a patina process.

image of Scotty sculpture installed

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.