24th National Conference on Undergraduate Research
The current range of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) extends from Alaska, south through western Canada, and into portions of Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming, extending as far south as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The word "grizzly" refers to "grizzled" or grey hairs in its fur. Historically, there were around 50,000 grizzly bears in North America. Today, there are approximately 1,200 grizzly bears remaining in five separate populations in the lower 48 states. In Alaska, there are thought to be over 30,000. Male grizzlies can reach weights of 1,000 pounds and stand 8 feet tall on their hind legs. The grizzly bear is the state animal of Montana and became the University of Montana's official mascot in 1923. The grizzly bear statue that has resided on the campus Oval since 1968 was created by the renowned ceramic artist and sculptor, Rudy Autio (1926-2007). Rudy was born in Montana where he lived most of his career. He was a member of UM's art faculty for twenty-eight years and helped to foster the talents of hundreds of students. Prior to that, he was a founding resident artist at the Archie Bray Ceramics Foundation in Helena, Montana. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, Rudy has been described as "a genius who helped push clay beyond the realm of craft and pottery into the modern art arena." Although he is best known for his work in ceramics, Rudy worked in a variety of materials and other media such as bronze, concrete, glass, fabricated metal sculpture, and the design of colorful Rya tapestries. The life-sized, bronze grizzly bear statue is 7 feet tall and weighs 5,000 pounds. It took one year for Rudy to create. With its classic Main Hall and Mount Sentinel backdrop, the grizzly statue is a favorite place for picture-taking. The NCUR 2010 logo features this proud symbol of our campus.