News at Mason
Bill of Rights Eagle to be dedicated to Scalia Law School
April 27, 2017 / by Jamie Rogers
A sculpture that has graced the U.S. Senate’s Russell Building rotunda and been displayed in two locations on the Harvard University campus has reached its permanent home at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.
The Bill of Rights Eagle, a 4,300-pound cast bronze work by renowned sculptor Greg Wyatt, will be dedicated on Monday, May 1, at noon at the Hazel Hall Atrium and Terrace on George Mason’s Arlington Campus. It will be dedicated as part of Law Day 2017.
The Scalia Law School is a fitting home for the Bill of Rights Eagle, because of the school’s namesake, Wyatt said.
"The nation recognized U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia for almost 30
years [as] having many admirable attributes as a constitutionalist, perhaps best known for his originalist perspective,” he said. “My work is a very fitting cultural tribute to his Bill of Rights judicial scholarship."
The fact that the university’s namesake, Virginia statesman George Mason IV, is known as the father of the Bill of Rights didn’t play a role in the decision to place the eagle at Mason. But it is another example of how the public monument is a great fit for a respected school of law and institution of learning, Wyatt said.
Retired Lt. Gen. Claude M. "Mick" Kicklighter recommended the Scalia Law School as a home for the Bill of Rights Eagle and put the artist in contact with Dean Henry N. Butler.
“I really respected what I saw there in terms of the law school environment,” Wyatt said.
The school’s law library, its administrative services for incoming students and its major commitment to accessibility are some of the really impressive things that convinced him the school was a place for the sculpture.
The eagle has a 6-foot wing span and sits atop a bronze pedestal with a circular base. In 1991 the sculpture was installed at the southwest corner of the Harvard courtyard entranceway of Dudley House for Wyatt’s first retrospective cultural exhibit, after it was initially presented in the U.S. Russell Senate Building rotunda in its same-size plaster cast form in 1989. After five years at Dudley House, it was moved to Harvard University’s Winthrop House Courtyard, just outside Suite F-14, the place where the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy once lived and studied, Wyatt said.
It stayed there on long-term loan until the university announced plans for a massive renovation to the area, which meant the sculpture would have to find a new home.
The sculpture was moved to Wyatt’s studios in Newburgh, N.Y., while he worked with architects and structural engineers from Mason.
“It’s really the product of expertise and collaborative professional work over a period of time. It worked out well,” he said.