New tigers on the prowl
Yvonne Chiu Hays
Two new tigers are stalking the north entrance of Princeton
A crane lifted the 7,000-pound
sculptures into their new home guarding the
entrance to Princeton Stadium. The stainless steel
cats were a gift from William Weaver Jr.
The 7,000-pound stainless steel tiger sculptures are
gifts of investment banker William Weaver Jr., a 1934
Princeton graduate who donated the money to construct the
nearby state-of-the-art track and field stadium named in his
The nine feet tall, 16 feet long tigers arrived Nov. 16
from North Carolina. Ruffin Hobbs, a 48-year-old metal
sculptor who works in the Raleigh-Durham area, created the
beasts, which look ready to pounce. Hobbs, who usually does
not work with stainless steel, surprised himself with the
amount of fluidity he was able to generate.
"Stainless steel is so tough but it's clear that if you
heat it right and shape it right, you can create a kind of
movement with it," said Hobbs, who supervised the tigers'
journey north and installed them in their new home.
Using fine sanders, Hobbs created iridescent patterns on
the flat steel, which suggest tiger stripes in the sunlight.
For claws, Hobbs used valves. The bodies of the tigers are
hollow and made of mesh, so that ivy eventually can grow in
Hobbs works out of a historic grist mill, forging
intricate original and reproduction gates and railings and
creating contemporary garden sculptures, wall murals,
furniture and mobiles. He met Weaver several months ago as
he waited for a ferry to Nantucket Island off the
"I was just in the right place at the right time," Hobbs
said. The two struck up a conversation, and Hobbs learned
about Weaver's plans. When he was awarded the project, Hobbs
had a little more than three months to complete it. He
worked at "break-neck" speed, he said.
The statues' arrival was celebrated in a brief ceremony
before the Nov. 18 football game. They are part of a $2
million stadium landscaping project that will become known
as Weaver Plaza and Walk and is to be completed by fall
"Mr. Weaver continues to be extremely generous to
Princeton, and one of the creative touches that he has
provided for us is this pair of tiger statues," said Vice
President for Development Van Williams. "The landscaping
project is a work in progress. With any kind of luck, by
football season next fall, we'll have a remarkably finished
look to it."
December 4, 2000
Vol. 90, No. 11
deliver experience along with the morning
the numbers / United Way campaign
/ People / Obituary
studies differences, seeks unity
names six new full professors
tigers on the prowl
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Editor: Ruth Stevens
Staff writer: Yvonne Chiu Hays
Calendar editor: Carolyn Geller
Contributing writers: Marilyn Marks, Caroline Moseley, Steven
Photographer: Denise Applewhite
Design: Mahlon Lovett,
Laurel Masten Cantor
Web edition: Mahlon Lovett