D'Artagnan: Featured Article
The dedication of the Cintas Center on September 21st, 2000, also introduced a new version of the school's symbolic leader, D'Artagnan, as a bronze statue of the heroic Musketeer was unveiled at the main entrance. The Musketeer - a member of the elite King's Guard of France during the 17th century - was adopted as Xavier's nickname in 1925 to symbolize the "All for One, One for All" spirit of the university.
Standing eight and one-half feet tall and weighing close to 800 pounds, the statue was the first major work of artist Tom Tsuchiya, who also scuplted three statues outside of the Reds stadium. as well as the St. Francis Xavier statue on University Drive. Tsuchiya's inspiration for the statue's design was a combination of the present and the past. "I looked at the function of the Cintas Center with the athletic teams playing there and thought it should have an active, vigorous pose," he says. "I also looked at paintings by the old Dutch and French masters from the 17th century for the right period look."
It replaced the old D'Artagnan statue, a gift from the class of 1962, which stood on campus from 1968 until 1996. Unfortunately, that statue had seen better days. At least that's what Margo Moores thought when visiting the campus with her husband Roland, a 1935 graduate of Xavier. "We came for a visit and I noticed that the D'Artagnan statue was in pretty bad shape," says Margo, during a telephone interview from her home in Arizona.
Roland, who attended St. Xavier High School and received his law degree from the University of Cincinnati, met Margo, who is French, while serving in France during World War II. The married after the war and Roland took a position with the U.S. State Department, remaining in Europe until 1970, when they retired to Arizona. Once back in the states, Roland reestablished his ties to Xavier, donating nearly $1 milion to the university.
But it was the statue that drew Margo's attention. "I said to Roland, 'It looks crummy. We need another one. A big one.' " Roland told her she should do something about it. That's all it took for Margo, who that day approached the Reverend James E. Hoff, who was then President of the university, with her proposal. "I went up to Father Jim and said, 'I have a surprise for you. I am going to buy you a new D'Artagnan statue.' "
The new statue stands as an example of the generosity friends and alumni have bestowed on Xavier to make possible the Cintas Center and other changes. The statue is also a reflection of Margo's heritage. "It's her gift to the university," Roland says. "She's my French connection."