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The Unconquered Statue
by Brian Benson


What does it mean to be a Florida State Seminole?  To be a Florida State Seminole means pride, joy, happiness, unconquered, rebel, fighter, and education.  The Unconquered Student in front of Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida stands for all these meaning.   The Unconquered Student Statue represents a lot of things but in the next couple of paragraphs, I will discuss the history of the Unconquered Student statue, where the controversy came from, when it was built, who built the statue, and why does it represent Florida State University

1947 started a new era for Florida State.  This year was when Florida State would become a coed school and stay that way through today.  In 1957, the Seminole Tribe gained Federal status.  This was really the changing point for the history of FSU.  1958, a new mascot was introduced to Florida State University, Sammy Seminole.  Sammy would stay for about 10 years, and then everything would change.  “1962, FSU student Bill Durham, serving on the University's Homecoming Committee, proposes starting a new tradition.  This new tradition would be a student dressed as a Seminole Indian.  The student would ride a horse and perform during the Homecoming football game. The idea didn't get much support — but did become the basis of the Osceola and Renegade tradition in 1978.”2

A tradition was born at FSU when Bobby Bowden decided to be a part of FSU,   he introduced  Savage Sam. Today we call him the Seminole Warrior, the character Osceola and his horse Renegade.  The Warrior introduced during an Oklahoma State University Cowboys and Florida State Seminoles game.  The OSU team mascot is a Cowboy, how ironic is that? 

The Controversy of Florida State University’s mascot was not a very big deal but the University still needed the approval of the Seminole Tribe.  The Tribe approved of everything Florida State has done to represent the Seminole Tribe.  The Tribes Council is still in collaboration with Florida StateUniversity and as long as Florida State represents the Tribe with honor and respect, the tribal council will continue to let us keep the Seminole as our mascot. 

When was the Unconquered Student built?  It was constructed in 2003 and stands 31 feet tall.  The statue is of Osceola and Renegade, this took many years to develop. A committee went through several ideas concerning mascots; they wanted something about Florida State University that represented the faculty, students, and the Seminole tribe.  To become a Florida State Seminole, we the student body of past generations and today can say that everybody helped to make our school proud.

The person who is responsible for the Unconquered Student is Stephen Reilly.  His dedication and persistence has given Florida State pride and respect. The people that should be thanked are to numerous to put into this short essay, but are stored in the minds  of all Florida State students, faculty and alumni every time you walk past the statue. with pride and honor.   In Conclusion, the Unconquered Student Stature represents persistence, pride, and glory.   Completely respecting traditions and honoring the Seminole Tribe.

photograph by Jennifer Koslow

© Jennifer Koslow | 453 Bellamy Building | Tallahassee FL 32306-2200
History Department | Arts & Sciences | Florida State University