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UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

Artist and Jacobs School Supporters Christen 370,000-Pound Sculpture for Engineering Courtyard

         Artist Tim Hawkinson (lower left) and construction
       crew position the head on his giant rock bear. Behind
        'Bear' are the Calit2 Building (left) and the Computer
   Science and Engineering Building, both under construction.
San Diego, CA, May 29, 2005 - With a loud thwack, artist Tim Hawkinson cracked a bottle of Chandon champagne on one of the boulders that make up the 370,000-pound sculpture called "Bear." The May 27 christening was part of a topping-off ceremony, after engineers and workmen maneuvered a huge rock 'head' on top of the 20-foot-tall teddy bear that now sits permanently at the center of the new engineering courtyard on the UCSD campus.

"Bear" is the 16th public, outdoor art work commissioned by the Collection for the 1,200-acre campus. At Hawkinson's side for the christening were Stuart Collection director Mary Livingstone Beebe, Jacobs School Dean Frieder Seible, and the school's namesakes, Joan and Irwin Jacobs. 

"This is the newest addition to the Stuart Collection, and it's appropriate that it's in this space," said Joan Jacobs, co-chair of the Friends of the Stuart Collection Council. "It's a site-specific

 Bear Video
   Video of final installation of
   'Bear' with comments from
     Dean Frieder Seible, artist
  Tim Hawkinson, and Jacobs
          School namesakes
      Irwin and Joan Jacobs
               Length: 2:30
work, as all of the Stuart Collection pieces are, and it's the largest piece of the collection in mass."

Erecting the sculpture's eight, uncarved granite boulders -- selected from a quarry in Temecula -- was a time-consuming engineering feat in itself. Jacobs School structural engineering students tested the design to make sure that the final structure would be earthquake-proof, and Dean Seible did the final independent engineering check of the design. "I think the bear is a beautiful contrast to our buildings and fits in perfectly," said Seible, beaming. "You can see the reflection of the bear in the windows of the buildings. It's absolutely marvelous."

The boulders were weighed before their final positioning, and the artwork turned out to be more than 20 percent heavier than expected. "When I heard about the concept, it sounded very exciting, but it wasn't quite clear how it would work out concerning the scale," noted Irwin Jacobs, founder and chair of QUALCOMM Inc. "But this is perfect."
"Bear" is Tim Hawkinson's first permanent, outdoor public project, and the two-story teddy bear will be visible from the three buildings surrounding the new engineering courtyard, still

 Bear Closeup
                       Fully assembled 'Bear'
under construction: Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall (which opened in 2002); the Computer Science and Engineering Building; and the six-story headquarters of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).The latter two buildings will be dedicated this fall, when "Bear" will also get a formal unveiling as part of a public dedication.

Hawkinson is one of America's most inventive artists, and art connoisseurs Irwin and Joan Jacobs were impressed with his creation. "It's a much more rounded and softer feel, so it will complement the buildings rather nicely," said QUALCOMM's Jacobs, who was on the faculty of UCSD from 1966 to 1972. "I think it's worked out well, and as you get some space to sit down around it, it will become a great social gathering spot." Joan Jacobs concurred, and predicted the artwork will resonate with students: "I think it will be adopted by students as a new mascot."

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