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New Woodcarving Dedicated to Chancellor McDonald

New woodcarving created by chainsaw artist Rick Boni of Ridgway, a gift from local business leaders Dan and Donna Kohlhepp.
6/4/2010 —

DuBois – As part of the kickoff of Penn State DuBois' 75th anniversary celebration, a new woodcarving of a mountain lion was unveiled on campus, with a surprise dedication to Chancellor Anita McDonald.  It comes to campus as a gift from local business leaders Dan and Donna Kohlhepp.   


"We planned to have this natural sculpture placed on campus to pay tribute to tradition and industry in the region, particularly to the region's rich lumber heritage," McDonald said, unaware that the lion would end up honoring her. "The campus has strong ties to lumber industry heritage, having been placed on the grounds of lumber tycoon John DuBois' estate." 


The arrival of the statue was something McDonald expected.  Having the work of art dedicated to her, however, came as a complete surprise.  During the dedication ceremony, Kohlhepp let the cat out of the bag, so to speak.


"We’re here to dedicate this Lion sculpture to a person who has come to our community, embraced our community, and embraced our campus," said Kohlhepp, who is also a campus alum.  "She has energized the campus, our community, and our dreams.  The person to whom this lion is dedicated is Anita McDonald."


Astonished, McDonald joked, "I'm speechless.  Most of you know that I'm not often speechless."  She also expressed her gratitude for receiving the honor, and her appreciation for the support of the campus and community. "All of the things said today about me really reflect back on all the great people on this campus.  On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students, I will gladly accept this dedication." 


The sculpture was created by chainsaw artist Rick Boni, who with his wife Liz, owns Appalachian Arts Studio in Ridgway, Elk County. Using his chainsaws, Boni carved the lion from a single sycamore log. 


Currently the carving stands near Symmco House, on the corner of College Place and East DuBois Avenue.  Once the renovation work is complete on the Patrick Swift Memorial Building, the lion will be moved to its permanent home in the interior Swift Courtyard.  Fittingly, this building is named for Kohlhepp's great-uncle, who helped to establish the campus in 1935.


A plaque placed on the lion sculpture reads, "Dedicated to Dr. Anita McDonald, Chancellor, On the 75th Anniversary of Penn State DuBois, 1935-2010." 

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