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Bison Spirit’ Resides in Governor’s Mansion

January 4, 2011

It is the symbol of the American frontier, a symbol of strength and spirit, and the mascot of OBU. The American Bison was selected as the mascot to convey the charging spirit of OBU students and graduates. Now, from the watch-care of Shawnee native and Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, to OBU alumna and Governor-elect Mary Fallin, "The Bison Spirit" will be displayed in Oklahoma's Governor Mansion for years to come.

In 2007, OBU unveiled a life-size bison statue titled "The Bison Spirit," sculpted by Oklahoma artist Harold T. Holden. The sculpture now stands in OBU's Recreation and Wellness Center. OBU President David Whitlock recently presented a 16-inch maquette of "The Bison Spirit" to Governor Henry for placement in the Governor's mansion. Governor-elect Mary Fallin also has ties to Bison Hill, having attended OBU for two years in the 1970s.

Holden, a noted artist and sculptor from Kremlin, Okla., was commissioned by OBU to sculpt the bison artwork. The project was underwritten by NBC Bank and was designated as an Official Oklahoma Centennial Project. In addition to being OBU's mascot, the American Bison is the state animal of Oklahoma.

The Bison Spirit is Holden's 12th public work of art, and the fifth to be underwritten by NBC Bank. His other works include the "Vision Seeker," a life-and-one-quarter Indian sculpture located in Altus and Enid; "Crossing the Red," located on the courthouse lawn in Altus, "The Broncho," on the University of Central Oklahoma campus, and "Boomer," also located in Enid.