Tom the University of Memphis Tiger

Submitted by D.A. Clark Sculpture


Client: University of Memphis

Location: Memphis, TN, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $125,000

Project Team


David Clark

David Alan Clark Scupture


Bobby A. Prince

University of Memphis


Over life-sized portrait of the University of Memphis Bengal tiger mascot, TOM. 4 feet; tall by 8 feet; long by 2 feet wide.


The University of Memphis, on its 100th anniversary, wanted to make the transition from a commuter school to a real university. Their Bengal tiger mascot, Tom is a live tiger and this bronze is an exact portrait of that tiger - right down to the stripes (which I learned are like fingerprints - no two tigers are alike). The tiger's base was designed with seating around it, so that students could hang out with Tom, or rub his paw for luck in exams.


The U of M did not want a snarling tiger, they wanted an approachable one. So Tom was rendered 'at ease' with one foot set just over the edge of the base, toes curling over it. The base was designed to have the tiger moving upward and forward, as they hope their graduates will when they enter the real world beyond school.

Additional Information

I think having a centerpiece helped cement the sense of school spirit that the administrators wanted to create.