University Green Area Heritage Study

Historic Burlington Research Project - HP 206


UVM Catamount Sculpture

View of Catamount Statue looking northwest. Image: Rachel J Peterson

The life sized sculpture of the University of Vermont mascot, the catamount, is placed outside of the Royall Tyler Theater on the University of Vermont campus.  It is a gift of the University of Vermont class of 1998.(1)  Created by Dennis Sparling, the sculpture was intended to foster school spirit.  Sparling came to meet with the class of 1998 on 8 March 1998 to get feedback on a model of the sculpture.(2)  The project was completely funded by donations from students, staff, and faculty and cost nearly $30,000 to complete.(3)  To raise the required funds, the deadline for donations had to be extended several times.(4)  Donations of $35 or more earned the donor the right to have their name – or the name of whomever the donation was in honor of- engraved on bronze plaques that stand behind the sculpture.(5) Over the years, the sculpture has seen its fair share of creative modifications by students.  Art student Doug Blair made a life-size cowboy out of paper maché and bronze paint that sat atop the catamount for a short while.(6)  Other artists have also added their flair to the catamount, placing a row hawk of icicles down its back.(7)

Text by Rachel J Peterson

(1)Placard of Donors mounted behind Catamount sculpture.
(2)Heather Lynch. “Senior Class Update,” The Vermont Cynic. March 5, 1998, 4.
(3)Heather Lynch. “Senior Class Update,” The Vermont Cynic. March 12, 1998, 4.
(5)Heather Lynch. “Senior Class Update,” The Vermont Cynic. March 5, 1998, 4.
(6)“Adorning the Cat,” accessed November 10, 2011,