From the fires of Ad Astra Foundry, six Jayhawks emerged, forged in bronze. Sculpted by the hands of artist Robin Richerson, their creation was made possible with support from alumnus James Ascher Sr. and his wife, Mary Ellen. All versions of the Jayhawk, for the first time ever, were created in large-scale 3D.
The Aschers, who gave in 2013 to rescue the 1,000-piece Jayhawk collection and provide it with a permanent home in the Kansas Union, stepped up again to support the new Ascher Plaza.
KU Memorial Union Director David Mucci said the idea came about when Jayhawk Boulevard reconstruction caused the necessary renovation of the Union plaza area. Mucci began to reach out to people and found the Aschers more than willing to help.
“We thank James Ascher Sr. and his family for once again coming to the rescue of Jayhawks,” Mucci said.
Even with the Aschers’ support, there wasn’t quite enough to complete the project. The Pi Deuteron Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, Class of 1980, provided the remaining amount needed, and the plaza became a reality. The bronze Jayhawks were unveiled to the public on March 7, 2019.
“Few people realized they were walking on images of historical Jayhawks when they entered the main entrance of the Union,” James Ascher said. “When I heard we could cast them in bronze and place them outside for all to see, I thought we must do this.
“When I heard we could cast them in bronze and place them outside for all to see, I thought we must do this.”
James Ascher Sr.