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University dinosaur statue marks its 50th anniversary
This Tyrannosaurus rex statue has guarded the front of the University of Wyoming Geological Museum for 50 years. UW photo

University dinosaur statue marks its 50th anniversary

Apr 10, 2014 - The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- The life-sized copper statue of Tyrannosaurus rex that greets visitors of the University of Wyoming's Geological Museum marks the 50th anniversary of its dedication on Friday and Saturday.

Legendary UW Professor Samuel H. "Doc" Knight built the statue after he retired in 1963. He spent more than 4,000 hours welding the 45-foot-long steel support structure and hand-hammering the copper plates to create the skin texture.

During Knight's 60-year career, he built up UW's Geology Department and led the development of the Geological Museum's collection, which had begun shortly after the university's founding. The current museum building opened in 1956.

The Geological Museum in 2012 underwent a $1 million renovation that maintained its historic features while revamping its layout, reorganizing exhibits and updating its mechanical, electrical, lighting and fire protection systems.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Geological Museum will host two "birthday" parties, one at lunchtime Friday in front of the statue, and another Saturday, April 12, from noon-2 p.m. in the museum. Birthday cake will be provided, and well-wishers can sign a giant birthday card to the T. rex.

"It's only fitting that we take a few moments to celebrate this anniversary of one of UW's campus icons," says Kelli Trujillo, UW Geological Museum manager. "The T. rex statue, and the museum itself,

are legacies of 'Doc' Knight, and we're delighted to carry on the tradition."

During Knight's 60-year career at UW, he built UW's Geology Department into one of the region's best and led the development of the Geological Museum's collection, which had begun shortly after the university's founding. The current museum building opened in 1956.

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