After years of rumors and ram-fueled intercampus jealousy, the Lincoln Center campus has achieved what at one point seemed unachievable to some members of the Fordham community—the installation of a ram statue.
Situated at the northeastern corner of the Outdoor Plaza, the statue arrived on the uncomfortably humid and overcast afternoon of Sept. 18, but those conditions did not affect anyone’s jovial attitudes. Official Fordham photographers took pictures of the new installation, while sculptor Harry M. Stierwalt, Jr. of West Palm Beach, Florida, admired his creation.
“It took me almost a year to build this,” he told me, while his uncle, who had assisted him on the project, took photos. Stierwalt has a knack for bronze sculptures of animals—he’s sculpted frogs, mythical creatures such as unicorns and pegasi, and also a Kirk’s red colobus monkey, a species only found on the East African island of Zanzibar. He keeps that one on his office desk.
Almost immediately after Stierwalt’s ram was installed, students began discussing the statue on social media. It is nearly identical to the ram statue at the Rose Hill campus—another Stierwalt creation—famous among students for the tradition of mounting the bronze animal.
“I think it makes it feel like a real campus,” said Shilpa Basu, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’18. “It’s really fun because now Rose Hill and Lincoln Center have something in common.”
Plans for the ram statue were solidified a little over a year ago, according to Vice President for Lincoln Center Brian J. Byrne, Ph.D.
“The Ram statue is a symbol meant to signify that the two campuses are parts of one University,” Byrne said in an email statement to The Observer.
Stierwalt made both of the statues and was asked by the university to replicate the ram that was installed at Rose Hill in 2006.
Stierwalt’s ram replaced an abstract statue titled “The Soaring Figure,” which Byrne described as “at best an abstract expression with no special reference to Fordham.” It has been moved to the Rose Hill campus.
Not all students, however, are on the ram statue bandwagon.
“Though I do appreciate the Fordham spirit that’s come to the Lincoln Center campus, I do miss the abstract statue that was so well-known in the plaza,” Elisabeth O’Neill, FCLC ’19, said.
The original plan was to put the ram statue in the same place as the Robert Moses plinth, according to an email Byrne sent to The Observer in November 2016. The plinth was put into storage last fall following a United Student Government (USG) vote to add a plaque to the monument explaining Moses’ controversial history. While text is still being finalized, the plan is to have it include information on Moses’ urban planning legacy and the people that he displaced in order to construct the Fordham University campus and the Lincoln Center arts complex.
The plinth was “moved to storage to beat the winter weather while [awaiting] the draft of the statement to be attached to it,” according to the November 2016 email Byrne sent to The Observer. Prior to the removal of the plinth, it had stood on the plaza covered in styrofoam, cardboard and plastic following backlash from members of the Fordham community who asserted that Moses was a racist and highly problematic individual.
The university’s plan is to eventually relocate the plinth to the lower plaza, an area of campus that has not yet been fully developed. The university intends to replace “most of the parking area with a park,” pending approval from the city, according to an email from Byrne to The Observer sent on Sept. 22
He also noted that “news of the Plaza renaming will be released shortly.” It had been previously named the Robert Moses Plaza.
Until the plinth is reinstalled, the Lincoln Center campus is left with various statues of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and its new ram. Members of the Fordham community have already made their intentions of riding it in the tradition of its Rose Hill counterpart known.
“So many ram riding opportunities next time I visit,” commented Alexa Fuler Situ, FCLC ’14, on our Facebook page. Another alum simply commented “let’s go sit on it.”