Graduation Herky is nowhere to be found on the University of Iowa Pentacrest. Where is the Hawkeye mascot statue?

The Graduation Herky statue, a popular photo spot for many graduating Hawkeyes, isn’t out in its usual spot for UI graduates to pose with as they celebrate their achievements.


File/The Daily Iowan

University of Iowa mascot Herky the Hawkeye goes back out On Parade for the 10th Anniversary of Herky on Parade on Monday, May 5, 2014.

Marissa Payne, Editor-in-Chief

While spring 2020 Hawkeye graduates flock to the Pentacrest to take photos at the heart of campus, Graduation Herky — a statue depicting the University of Iowa mascot donning a cap and gown — is missing from his usual perch facing Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue.

UI Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Rod Lehnertz told The Daily Iowan Monday that university officials discussed whether to bring Graduation Herky out while social-distancing guidelines are in place to contain the spread of COVID-19. They ultimately decided against doing so, and the two versions of the statue remain in storage.

“It was decided that, because we and other campuses were in this sort of mode of shut-in place, stay-in-place order, to create something that is intended to draw crowds and bring people and touch him and take pictures with him — we just thought it didn’t really fit the time this year,” Lehnertz said.

Like in-person commencement ceremonies, posing next to Graduation Herky is another time-honored tradition put on pause because of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Lehnertz vowed that Graduation Herky will eventually make a return to its usual spot for graduates to continue taking photos with the beloved statue.

For now, Hawkeyes must celebrate their graduation from the UI without the dressed-up black and gold mascot.

“There’s no doubt about it, he’ll be back, but given all of the conditions, we thought it’s probably best to not find new and artificial ways to bring people out and together on the campus that we were trying to keep quiet, trying to keep empty for this semester,” Lehnertz said.