lion-icon-nightMissouri Southern State University students and employees experienced a historic moment on the first day of classes when a new iconic structure was officially unveiled.

The Lion Icon statue was unveiled at noon on Monday, Aug. 19, just outside of Billingsly Student Center on the campus Oval. The ceremony included remarks from Interim President Alan Marble and members of the Student Senate. Missouri Southern Foundation supporters Bill and Tracy Gipson also were recognized.

The event was carried via livestream on the Missouri Southern website at WWW.MSSU.EDU.  It took place during the campus picnic.

The Lion Icon creates a new entrance for Billingsly Student Center, serving as a focal point for photography, gatherings and other events, as well as daily use by students, faculty and staff.

The structure is surrounded by a new 5,400 square-foot plaza, which features a winding, graduated wall as well as ground pavers. The area will be accentuated with new seating and lighting, and will be a location designed to attract students and visitors.

A new design was created for Missouri Southern by Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, N.J. The bronze lion is one of Hanlon’s more than 200 original art pieces, which are located throughout the world.

The Gipsons as well as the Student Senate made significant donations to help this project become a reality.  RE Smith, as well as the MSSU Physical Plant, worked long hours this summer to complete the project before the start of fall classes.