Statue of Robert Griffin III Unveiled at Baylor’s McLane Stadium
Bronze sculpture on South Plaza honors Baylor's 2011 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback
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WACO, Texas (Aug. 31, 2014) – Baylor University today officially unveiled a bronze statue of Robert Griffin III, winner of the 2011 Heisman Trophy, during a ceremony prior to the football team's inaugural game in McLane Stadium against SMU.
Located in the stadium's South Plaza facing the Brazos River, the statue was made possible by the generous support of Baylor alumni Dr. John Wood, BA '53, and his wife, Pat Alexander Wood, BA '54, of Waco, Texas.
"The opening game at McLane Stadium will be a special day for Baylor Football as it makes its much-anticipated return to our campus," said Ian McCaw, vice president and athletics director at Baylor. "It is an ideal time to honor Robert Griffin III's accomplishments and legacy as Baylor's first Heisman Trophy winner. The unveiling of this remarkable statue is an exciting moment for Baylor Nation to celebrate. We are deeply grateful to John and Pat Wood for making a gift that celebrates Baylor's tradition of excellence and the achievements of one of our greatest student-athletes."
In guiding the Bears' potent offense for three seasons under the leadership of Coach Art Briles, Griffin is credited as a catalyst for the movement to return Baylor football to campus — a dream that began to become reality when, in March 2012, Baylor announced a lead gift from alumnus Drayton McLane Jr. and his family. Located on Interstate 35 along the Brazos River, the $266-million stadium is the largest project ever built in Waco and the Central Texas region and will accommodate more than 45,000 spectators, including more than 8,700 students.
Griffin's career at Baylor was filled with accolades. In addition to winning the Heisman Trophy, as a junior he received 2011 National Player of the Year honors from multiple organizations and the Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards after leading the Bears to a 10-3 regular-season record, its first bowl win in 19 years and a No. 12 final national ranking. Griffin graduated from Baylor in three years with a bachelor's degree in political science and was working toward a master's degree in communications when he was selected second overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. Now the Redskins' third-year starting quarterback, Griffin won the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
"I've always wanted to give back to Baylor and have admired those fellow alumni who have done so over the years," said John Wood, who served as head yell leader as a Baylor student and was the football team's chaplain during Grant Teaff's tenure as coach. "I've been part of Baylor football through three stadiums, going back to Municipal Stadium when I was a freshman, and now here we are with fabulous McLane Stadium. Pat and I simply thought that Robert deserved to be honored with a larger-than-life bronze right at the entrance to the new home of the Bears."
Classified as a monumental bronze sculpture due to its size, the statue stands nine-and-a-half feet tall and was created by West Texas native and current Arizona resident Tom White, who attended the unveiling ceremony with the Woods. White's bronze monuments, which include war memorials, biblical scenes and historical figures, are located across the United States, England and Canada.
Formerly the pastor of First Baptist Waco, Wood now leads two organizations: John Wood Ministries and the International Medical Education Foundation. The groups oversee the donation of medical equipment and supplies to Ukraine and train Ukrainian doctors. After first traveling to Ukraine to train pastors and start churches, Wood shifted his focus to improving Ukrainian health care. In 2010, Wood received Ukraine's Presidential Merit Award, an honor given to those who have "gone far beyond the call of duty in their service to Ukraine."
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.