The Eagle Has Landed: Bay native returns to the ‘Nest’
By Cassandra Favre
Oct 25, 2013, 23:09
The Scianna family stands proudly in front of "Lofty Eagle" after Thursday's dedication ceremony. From left: Mike Benvenutti and wife Mary Ann Scianna Benvenutti; Chuck's daughter Stephanie Scianna; Jeff Andrews; Chuck Scianna; Laurie Benvenutti; Chuck's wife Rita Andrews Scianna; Chuck's granddaughter Claire Aurora; Chuck's daughter Ashley Scianna; Clint Sciba; Harvey Timberlake and Julie Scianna Timberlake.
A Bay St. Louis native and University of Southern Mississippi alumnus made his way back to the "Nest" this week.
Chuck Scianna along with his wife Rita and daughters Ashley and Stephanie, as well as sisters Mary Ann and Julie, attended the dedication of "Lofty Eagle" at USM's Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach on Thursday.
Scianna donated the 1,650-pound bronze and stainless steel statue to the university and there is a larger version of "Lofty Return" at USM's Hattiesburg campus.
Scianna is a 1975 graduate of USM with a bachelor's in finance. He has an MBA from the University of Houston.
He is president of Sim-Tex L.P. in Waller, Tx;, a leading supplier of API-certified oil country tubular goods.
"Two years ago this idea was hatched," Scianna said on Thursday. "The two sculptures unite both campuses.
"Students come here to get nurtured, full feathered and ready to take off. Then you can come back to the "Nest."
USM President Emeritus Aubrey Lucas spoke of Lofty Returns meaning to higher education in Mississippi.
"My heart leaped when I first saw Lofty Return," Lucas said. "The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a leader in this state in visual arts.
"Lofty also joins the USM Friendship Oak, a symbol of natural beauty able to survive catastrophe."
Colorado based sculptor David Anderson created both Lofty sculptures in about a year.
"Anderson's work is first sculpted in clay," Vice President for Students Affairs Joe Paul said. "Then he takes them through the wax process to produce his bronzes.
"The molding is so precise, you can see the artist's fingerprints in the finished bronze."
A second dedication ceremony was held later that day at the USM Hattiesburg campus for the larger Lofty Return residing there.
According to officials, Lofty Return on the Gulf Coast campus is about 1,200 pounds of bronze and 450 pounds of stainless steel.
The sculpture measures 11 feet wide and 14 feet high by five feet deep.
A plaque for the sculpture was also unveiled.
Lofty Eagle on the Gulf Coast campus was dedicated to President Emeritus Aubrey Lucas and the Hattiesburg campus' statue was dedicated to former USM President Dr. Martha Saunders.