Texas A&M University-Commerce held the opening of Patrick Dougherty’s most recent sculpture on February 5. Students, faculty, staff and friends of the university gathered at the sculpture site to celebrate the distinct occasion.
“It is a special event and a special day in the life of the university,” said President Dan Jones. “As you know, we are observing a very special milestone this year, and that’s the 125th anniversary of our founding in 1889. Now we didn’t get to be 125 years old by doing the same thing over and over again. We got to be 125 years old by doing new stuff for the first time. That was what Professor Mayo did in 1889. The idea of starting a teachers’ college in this part of the world was, well, an untested and revolutionary concept. And, you see what great things have come from that vision. That’s what I see in this piece of art. It’s a one of a kind sculpture. It’s the first time that this university, or really this entire region, has launched out on something so creative and so innovative. So, I really think that it captures the spirit of this institution in a very special way.”
Dougherty spent the two and a half weeks prior to the opening visiting the campus, collecting materials and building his sculpture. With hard work and help from students, faculty, staff and community members, the sculpture slowly but surely came to fruition on the south side of the James G. Gee Library.
“The people who helped with this project; these are some hardcore people,” said Dougherty. “They came out here rain or shine. They really helped with the process. I really appreciate being able to be here. I know a lot more about Commerce and a lot more about the university than I did before, and I’m very impressed. I’m impressed with your students, and I’m impressed with the master of art program because I’ve gotten to know a lot of these students through our work.”
One of the students who worked on the piece named the sculpture Deep in the Heart. Dougherty said that he didn’t feel that it had to be named, but he needed to know if a good name came up. His sculpture is about Texas, nature, the relationship of the two trees and the relationships that were formed during this process from start to finish. After hearing Ashley’s idea, he felt that this title fit what was built.