A new space has joined the Russ Hall stairs,
the Oval and the bridge at University Lake
on the list of great campus icons.
On Oct. 11, thousands of PSU alumni, students and staff joined President Steve Scott on the east side of Carnie Smith Stadium for the unveiling of Champions Plaza and its central feature, a massive bronze Gorilla created by Kansas City sculptor Tom Corbin.
“The goal,” Scott told the crowd, “was to create an area that would honor the passion and pride of our students and alumni while at the same time, celebrate the achievements of our athletic teams.”
In addition to the bronze Gorilla and 1,500 inscribed pavers, Champions Plaza also includes the Circle of Champions, an area that commemorates the accomplishments of PSU coaches, from any sport, who have led their teams to capture a national championship.
As the dedication ceremony concluded, the PSU football team completed its traditional walk from the Weede PE Building to Carnie Smith Stadium. Each member of the team reached up to touch the Gorilla “as a symbol of unity and strength.”
Scott said alumni brought the concept of Champions Plaza to the university more than a year ago and the project was funded with private gifts.
“It represents the perfect intersection of alumni engagement, private support, and Gorilla pride,” he said.
After the football team passed by, alumni, many with children in tow, took their turns reaching up to touch the Gorilla. As sculptor Tom Corbin watched the new tradition begin, he noted the lasting impact of his work.

Bronze medallions in Champions Plaza honor coaches who have earned national titles.

Bronze medallions in Champions Plaza honor coaches who have earned national titles.

“Every mark that I put in there is going to be around for a lot longer than I am,” Corbin said. “It’s kind of wild to think about all the people who are going to see it.”
President Scott said Champions Plaza is the latest addition to the rich and colorful history that ties together generation after generation of the Gorilla family.
To order Champions Plaza pavers, visit www.pittstate.edu/championsplaza.