March 15, 2011

Gargoyle Comes to Perch in Vice Chancellor's Office; Now It Needs A Name

An icon of Vanderbilt’s historic past, a 5-foot tall alabaster gargoyle, has crept away from its longtime perch within Kirkland Hall and made its way across campus to a new home in the Medical Center. The stone beast is now resting on its haunches, guarding over the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs in Medical Center North.

And now it needs a name.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs is holding a Name the Gargoyle contest. Judges will be looking for the most creative names.

• Grand prize is lunch with Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
• Three runner-ups will each win a prize.
• The contest is open to all Medical Center faculty and staff.
• Contest entries will be judged by a distinguished panel of experts.
• All submissions must be made on or before March 31.

 Submit entries for the Name the Gargoyle contest to:
Click here to visit the “Name the Gargoyle Contest” home page

About the Gargoyle

The Medical Center’s newest resident dates back to 1905, when eight of the ornamental beasts were added to the top of the Kirkland Hall clock tower as the building underwent reconstruction after a devastating fire nearly destroyed the landmark. Gargoyles are used in architecture as tools to direct rainwater away from the sides of buildings and protect mortar between bricks.

The sculpture holds a special place in University history, as it is one of only two intact gargoyles to survive construction when Kirkland Hall was given an exterior facelift in 1961. The gargoyles, each weighing hundreds of pounds, were removed from the building’s exterior for safety and aesthetic reasons. The other surviving gargoyle stands sentry in a University boardroom.

Upon removal from their perches in 1961, the remaining intact gargoyles, and pieces of those damaged during removal from Kirkland Hall, were stored underneath the football stadium until the University could find appropriate uses for them. Since, whole or partial gargoyles crept away from their campus hideout during the 1960s and 70s to be seen at various locations in nearby neighborhoods, fraternity houses and elsewhere. In the late 1970s an effort was made to call home the missing beasts but only two intact and one partial gargoyle were recovered.