Contest puts students in charge of naming statue



By Jennifer Abreu

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The UK Alumni Association is giving students an opportunity to make history.

“Don’t call me Fluffy” is an initiative to find the perfect name to represent the newest bronze member of the Big Blue family.

Located at the Wildcat Alumni Plaza, across from the Memorial Coliseum, the Wildcat sculpture has been seen and talked about with no name.

Students can suggest names for the Wildcat until Sept. 7 on

The statue was built in April and spent all summer nameless. The UK Alumni Association came up with a creative way to change that.

“We were trying to think of ways for the students to interact with the Wildcat sculpture, and make them feel like he is really part of the campus,” said Leslie Hayes, the program director at the Alumni Association. “So we thought that if he had a name, it’d be more sentimental, and it’d bring him closer to the students.”

Garrett Dillingham, a civil engineering major, agrees that the initiative to hear students’ voices should be successful.

“It makes students really feel like we are being part of campus by putting it in our hands to decide,” he said.

The idea of making friends with the Wildcat is working. According to Hayes, more than 100 suggestions have already been entered.

“We do see some of the same names coming up, and some are just completely off the wall,” Hayes said.

Although she did not want to reveal any names that have already been entered, the director did hint about what is going through students’ minds.

“Some names are related to last year’s UK’s basketball team championship, and some are specifically related to the coach,” Hayes said.

Hayes said the Alumni Association wants all decisions to be made by the students.

A committee made up of students will choose three to five names, which will then go up for a vote.

Students will be able to vote for their favorite name from Sept. 17 to Oct. 8.

The winning name will be revealed Oct. 15 during the homecoming pep rally.

Hayes said the Alumni Association is still working on the details of the prize, but she guaranteed it would be a “special, unique college campus experience,” and that students will soon find out what it is.

The question to whether the Wildcat is a boy or a girl is to be answered by the winning name.

“I keep calling it a ‘he,’ you all (students) may call it a ‘she,’ ” Hayes said.

Boy, girl, sports related or not, Hayes encourages students to be creative with the names they suggest — with only one restriction:

“Please don’t call him ‘Fluffy,’ ” she said.