John Tarleton bronze unveiled at Tarleton

Tarleton State University hosted a large crowd to Alumni Island at the heart of its Stephenville campus Monday evening for the unveiling of a 10-foot bronze likeness of founder John Tarleton. Renowned artist Kenneth Wyatt, a 1946 graduate of John Tarleton College, created the bronze, the centerpiece of an Alumni Island restoration project undwritten entirely by Alpha Building Corporation. || BRAD KEITH/


STEPHENVILLE (July 27, 2015) — As the roar of the appreciative crowd subsided and the fireworks faded, the 10-foot bronze likeness of John Tarleton, the founder of what has become Tarleton State University, came into focus at the center of spotlights against the night sky.

“His legacy is this university and the thousands of graduates who have gone through here through the years,” said Tarleton President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio, of John Tarleton. “This statue is to make sure past, current and future students know and understand this university is here because of John Tarleton.”

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A humble man with quite the entrepreneurial spirit, according to biographers.

“He was called a pioneer with a tolerant spirit toward others, a dreamer and a visionary, a successful businessman interested in the welfare of others,” Dottavio said. “We believe today that Tarleton students need to understand that like John Tarleton, they must have integrity, be a leader, build communities, seek excellence and serve others beyond themselves. That’s what John Tarleton was about. That’s what we want our graduates to be about.”

Returning life to the long-under-construction Alumni Island in the heart of the Tarleton campus, the bronze stood tall, and beside it renowned artist Kenneth Wyatt, himself a 1946 graduate of John Tarleton College and one of the few alumni to receive an honorary doctorate from the university, stood proud.


“He was the perfect artist for this work because he reflects the core values of this university and a deep admiration for the life and legacy of John Tarleton,” Dottavio said.

Alpha Building Corporation, which has been in business with Tarleton since 2003, is single-handedly responsible for underwriting the 10-foot statue, as well as the running water fountain and surrounding area.

“They have completed over 500 projects since joining the Tarleton family,” said Tarleton vice president for institutional advancement Dr. Kyle McGregor. “This project is possible because of the kindness and generosity (CEO and President) Kathy Acock and Alpha Building Corporation.

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Alumni Island is located at the heart of the Tarleton campus, just southeast of the Trogdon House, nestled int0 the evening shadows of the renovated O.A. Grant Building as the sun sets in the west.

“This monument and space return Alumni Island to what it was meant to be,” said McGregor. “It’s a gathering place for students to make memories and alumni to recall them.”

Now those memories can be made and recalled under the watchful eye of the man who made so many of them possible.




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