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tennessee technological university

TTU News

Published: Thu Jul 22, 2010

An art piece designed to capture the imagination of students and visitors to the Millard Oakley STEM Center at Tennessee Tech University is now in its rightful place.

The wooden sculpture – the Soaring Science Eagle – by world-renowned Cookeville artist Brad Sells celebrates the STEM Center’s mission to excite students from pre-school through college to study in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“Brad and I have talked for several years about him doing a meaningful wood sculpture on the campus of his alma mater, Tennessee Tech University,” said TTU first lady Gloria Bell. “We have both been very excited about what the center will do for our region to excite students from pre-school through college in these fields of study.

Harry and Debra Stonecipher provided funding for the sculpture. Harry Stonecipher is a TTU Foundation Board of Directors member and a 1960 TTU physics graduate who is the former president and chief operating officer of The Boeing Co.

<thumb_ScienceEagle1The Soaring Science Eagle was carved from a solid piece of red oak taken from a tree that grew on 10th Street in Cookeville. The tree’s trunk was five-feet in diameter. The finished piece of art with its 15-foot wingspan was installed in the hall’s lobby earlier this month. The periodic table and formulas from physics and mathematics are carved into the eagle’s underbelly.

“It’s very rare to have such a clear piece of timber to do such a project,” artist Brad Sells said.

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TTU First Lady Gloria Bell and Brad Sells.
The $8 million STEM Center, housed in Ray Morris Hall, is TTU’s newest academic building. The 26,000-square-foot building’s grand opening was held May 7 with  more than 500 visitors from across the state.

Click here to view a slide show of photographs of the eagle's installation.

Click here to view video about how the eagle was inspired, designed and carved.