Paladin Horse Statue


Legacies Classification
Memorial Artwork
Memorial Type
Sculptural Memorial
Memorialized Subject
Furman Athletics
Paladin Horse Statue
Background and Context
On September 15, 1961, Furman officially changed its mascot from the Hornets to the Paladins. The horse mascot took the name “The Mighty White Man” during this time, in the midst of the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s. The horse was a “pure white steed” and a knight (named Sir Paladin) rode atop him. Students and community alike were very proud and supportive of this mascot at the time, and Furman announced their intentions to create a statue of the mascot in the near future. However, concerned parties in the 1990s questioned the implications and meaning behind the naming of “The Mighty White Man.” Such concerns focused on the supposition that “white” and “man” in the name indicated support for white masculine supremacism. And the creation of a statue memorializing such ideas was frowned upon. Thus, an official Paladin horse statue was not constructed until a decade later. The Paladin horse statue was designed by Jon Hair and donated to Furman University in 2003. Now, the statue–meant to symbolize honor and strength–stands in the Paladin Plaza, a $500,000 space situated in front of the Paladin Stadium. The designer, Jon Hair, has designed many sculptures across the South and is known for his bronze work. In recent years, students, faculty, and community members have stated concerns over the problematic history of the mascot. And Furman University has made a concerted effort to recognize and renounce Furman’s past connections to slavery and racism.
Physical Description
17-foot-high bronze patina statue of a horse and knight, which symbolizes the university's athletic mascot. The lighted, 12,000-square-foot area also includes such features as benches, custom landscaping, and brick walkways with granite-set edging.
Memorial Inscription
The front inscription on the pedestal reads: "PALADIN PLAZA. Dedicated in 2003. The Gift of Irwin and Carol Belk. Sculptor- John D. Hair. Pedastal the Gift of the L.D. Steward Family in honor of the 2002 Paladins."

The sides inscriptions on the pedestal read: "Furman University Records Its Gratitude To Those Who Gave Or Inspired Support of Student Athletes." And inscription on both sides of the statue depicts the names of donors who have created fully endowed scholarships at Furman.
Creator/Participating Person(s)
Hair, Jon
Date created, installed or dedicated
Funded by
The $500,000 Paladin Plaza, which surrounds the Paladin Horse Statue, was financed by local residents Sonny Horton ‘52 and his wife, Keeter, as well as Melvin Younts ‘50 and his wife, Dollie. The sculpture of the horse was donated by Irwin and Carol Grotnes, who have funded various other projects and memorials at Furman previously. And the granite for the statue was donated by the family of L.D. Stewart.
Location: Institution, City, State
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