SUNY Delhi welders craft 12-foot stainless steel bronco

Those attending the SUNY Delhi commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16 will be greeted by a new addition to the campus – a 12-foot-tall sculpture of the school's bronco mascot logo, rendered in stainless steel.

The idea for the sculpture was crowd-sourced from among students, administrators and a campus beautification committee. The implementation fell upon welding instructors Chris Mignier and D.J. Stein.

“They asked what we could do,” Mignier said. “We started looking at the logo and decided to make the two-dimensional thing a three-dimensional thing.”

Mignier and Stein began experimenting after class hours and created a scale model, which they presented to college President Candace Vancko and others in March.

“We had no idea what the reception would be. They seemed really pleased with it,” Mignier said.

Vancko confirmed that she liked the model and said she gave the sculptors one more instruction. “I told them, 'Oh, I want it big. I want it really big,'” she said.

She got what she asked for. “I don't think I realized how big it would be,” she said. “It was a total 'wow.' I got emotional. I really did,” she said.

Mignier said the bronco, measuring nine feet from nose to mane and 12 feet in height, was cut from 3/16ths-inch sheet steel, with matching sides connected by 1 1/2-inch steel pipe. The sheets were cut with a plasma cutter and all of the surfaces were polished.

“It was all hand-cutting, a lot of hours,” he said.

Students from welding classes pitched in.

“They saw it evolve," Mignier said. "They were pretty excited about it.”

Vancko called the process of creating the sculpture a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. She said students wanted something that promoted SUNY Delhi to the public and that the Student Senate donated $5,000 to cover the cost of materials. She praised Mignier and Stein, as well as the students.

“To have that kind of talent on your staff is awesome,” Vancko said.

The permanent location of the sculpture is still up in the air. It will be placed, initially, outside the Clark Sports Center on the SUNY Delhi campus in the Delaware County town of Delhi, where the commencement ceremony will be held.

“I'm sure there will be lots of students posing for pictures in their caps and gowns with their moms and dads and aunts and uncles,” Vancko said.

She hopes, however, that it will be placed in a more prominent location in the agora, adjacent to the Farrell Student and Community Center. “It just demands that kind of attention,” she said.

Vancko summed up her reaction to the finished product, saying, “It's beautiful. It far exceeds my wildest expectations.”