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Support the Graduation Herky Statues

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
21 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on October 20, at 11:55 PM CDT
Project Owners

Support the Graduation Herky Statues

Everyone Knows Graduation Herky! 

The iconic symbol of the Graduation Herky greets every new student at the entrance to the Pentacrest.  When Graduation Herky graces the plaza at Carver Hawkeye Arena during the commencement ceremonies, fresh graduates spill out afterward with friends and family to capture the moment for posterity.  What's not to love about Graduation Herky?  It represents what every student aspires to, a degree from the University of Iowa, and a positive and enjoyable student experience along the way.  But have you ever thought about what it takes to repair and maintain this beloved Iowa tradition? 

The weather, including hot Iowa summers, wind, rain and occasional snow and ice take a toll on Herky's garments, which are made from actual fabric cloth and designed by a local artist. To a lesser degree, the many fans who gather around Herky and give him hugs, also wears on his shiny surfaces.  On a regular basis, Herky returns to the studio in Cedar Rapids for new clothes and graduation gown. After the artist is done fitting Herky's new gown, a process that takes a couple months, the statue is sent to an automotive shop for a special clear-coat finish, just like a new car!  A second Graduation Herky was commissioned in 2016 to serve as backup for times when Graduation Herky is needed for multiple events.  We’ve found that Graduation Herky is SO popular, that when commencement occurs, he is needed at both Carver Hawkeye Arena and on the Pentacrest for family photographs with Iowa’s splendid Old Capitol as the backdrop. And Graduation Herky has even visited Iowa State Fair. In addition to a regular make-over, all the moving around requires special equipment and careful hands.  Landscape Services staff from Facilities Management often unbolt Herky from his stand and wrap him in packing blankets to move him for special events. For short moves, Herky can remain on his base and is fork-lifted onto a truck for transport around campus.  Either way, the facilities staff take a special care and pride in getting Herky to and from its destination.

You Can Help! 

YOU can help sustain this celebrated tradition by making a donation through GOLDrush! All gifts will be directed to support the repair, maintenance and transport of the beloved Graduation Herky Statues. 

More About Graduation Herky  

The Herky Legacy dates clear back to the 1950s, when it first appeared on field during a football game in 1959 and was adopted as the team mascot. Herky has evolved over the years, with various updates to wardrobe and overall design.  Graduation Herky was born in 2014 as part of the Herky On Parade! program initiative. Graduation Herky was created by artist Anne Jacobs Johnson. Today, Herky's wardrobe and fiberglass structure are repaired and re-crafted at the studio of artist Tom Newport in Cedar Rapids.

The men of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at the University of Iowa took on this fundraising project as a positive demonstration and commitment to the campus community and the student experience.   

(Please note that your gift will be made to the Herky Statue Maintenance Crowdfunding Project Fund and then directed to support this initiative.)


NOTICE: The State University of Iowa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization soliciting tax-deductible private contributions for the benefit of the University of Iowa. Please visit the UI Foundation disclosures site for additional information.

Choose a giving level



Provide a new tassel for Herky's mortarboard.



This amount funds a new tie that shows from the neck of the graduation gown.



This funds a new shirt and collar that show at the neck of Herky through the graduation gown.



This amount funds the application of an automotive clear-coat finish that protects Herky from the weather.



This amount funds the crafting and manufacture of a new graduation gown.



This amount will pay for the annual "complete makeover" that is needed to replace and freshen Herky's wardrobe, including new shirt, tie, gown, pants and a paint job. This is needed for each new school year and is performed over the summer.



This amount pays for a full makeover, the clear coat finish, minor repairs and moving around campus for one season.

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