Oct 5 • 2 min read
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Dr. M. Moshe Porat at the owl statue unveiling. Jim Roese Photography

Dr. M. Moshe Porat at the owl statue unveiling. Jim Roese Photography

In only a few words, conveyed the collective excitement shared by those who filled Alter Hall’s Undergraduate Commons.

“I don’t know what’s under that cover,” Porat said, “but I can’t wait to see it.”

The Dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, Porat helped remove a black drape from atop a 6-foot-tall owl-shaped statue. The unveiling of the owl officially launched the Fox School’s centennial celebration. Founded in 1918, the Fox School will celebrate its 100-year anniversary during the 2017-18 academic year.

The owl statue, which is to be housed at Alter Hall, is the work of Philadelphia artist Leo Sewell. Sewell is a self-described “junk artist” who grew up near a landfill. His origin story helped to shape his artistic style, which quite literally turns trash into treasures. His works can be found in corporations, museums, airports, and other public venues located around the world, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museums, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum.

Several hundred students poured into Alter Hall on Sept. 23 to witness the unveiling of the statue, which was constructed using memorabilia and tchotchkes from Fox’s rich history. Sewell melted down, bolted, and molded items like magnets, keychains, plaques, lapel pins, coffee mugs, and license plate covers to create the owl. Faculty, students, and alumni submitted pieces to Sewell for inclusion.

Students take selfie with the statue. Jim Roese Photography

Students take selfie with the statue. Jim Roese Photography

Porat encouraged students to take photographs of the statue, and inspect it closely for items that related to their specific academic programs or student professional organizations. Porat said he hopes the statue will inspire students to think beyond the scope of their ephemeral experiences at the school.

“It’s not often in your lifetime that you get the opportunity to celebrate 100 years of anything,” said Porat, who has served as Fox’s Dean since 1996. “You are all a part of our success here. And when it comes to the Fox School, we want to make you feel proud of us. That’s what this celebration of our history is all about.”