Bronze Bronco

A new, physical manifestation of Bronco pride arrives on campus.

Bronze Bronco
Photo by Charles Barry

There’s a new horse on campus, over on the west side. He’s cast in metal to show sinewy pride and mettle: there to greet you with raised hoof and bared teeth, and there’s fire in those eyes. That fire is meant to rekindle a sense of Bronco pride on the fields and courts, on the courses and lanes, in the water and in the ring, on the ice and in the saddle—wherever student athletes “are playing their hearts out for Santa Clara,” as Jack R. Previte ’70 puts it. “This statue represents the spirit and the grace and the power that we want Santa Clara University alumni and students to possess.”

Previte was the lead Bronco on the project that brought the new bronze sculpture to campus. Cyril G. BarbacciaJoseph A. McCarthy ’71Gary J. Filizetti ’67, MBA ’69, and the Bronco Bench Foundation brought the proposal to realization. There’s something aspirational as well as inspirational about this fierce Bronco, too: as a symbol of Santa Clara athletes increasingly competing on the national stage.

There wasn’t a statue of a Bronco on campus—until now—but big plans for athletics are part of the Santa Clara 2020 vision. Striking Freedom, as this bronze bronco by sculptor David L. Spellerberg is known, arrived on campus last fall and was dedicated on Oct. 8, 2014.


The statue may be new, but the Bronco designation as mascot began in autumn 1923, following an eloquent plea by beloved teacher Hubert Flynn, S.J.: “The bronco is a native western piece of dynamite. Not too large, it is true, but hard as nails, and always game to the core. The original bronco used to do his stuff regularly in the arena around the old Mission, and it is but fitting that his name and fame be perpetuated on those same fields of conquest, where lusty warriors of California heritage kick and buck their ‘way to many a glorious triumph.’”

That November, student body president Henry “Rip” Miller ’24 announced that Santa Clara would henceforth be known as the “Broncos.”


The latest pedestrian promenade through the heart of campus is Alviso Street. Broncos back for Grand Reunion got to experience it firsthand—or first-foot, to be precise—walking a lovely brick path where until recently motor cars roamed the pavement. Now it’s been transformed to a lovely brick walkway from the front of the Donohoe Alumni House to St. Joseph’s and the Mission Church and O’Connor. That route parallels where The Alameda once ran—back when The Alameda was a four-lane highway through campus.

Should you make the walk north on the Alviso Mall, you’ll find at the north side of campus, tucked alongside Franklin Street, a lovely new plaza with chairs, tables, and umbrellas for al fresco dining. Should you make that walk morning or midday during the week, you’ll find parked there SCU’s Pony Express Food Truck, offering a rotating menu: from fresh baked goods and breakfast treats to meat and veggie sliders (including a quinoa patty with goat cheese and tomatoes) last fall, and an array of tacos this winter. The pony opened its window in November 2014.

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