Ranch Management statue unveiled

(L-R) Star Liana York, Nancy T. Richards and M. Stewart Richards next to the "Range Duty" sculpture.

Fort Worth, TX


By: Rick Waters, '95

It was more than a year ago, but Nancy Tartaglino Richards recalls the moment with clarity.

As part of the Chancellor's Advisory Council, Richards and a small group were on a tour of the campus, evaluating its physical makeup and noting where improvements might be made.

As they rounded the corner of Stadium Drive and Cantey Street, the group spent a few moments gazing at the Winthrop Rockefeller Building for Ranch Management. It needed something, they thought.

"It's a handsome building, kind of rugged looking, but there's nothing about it that says what goes on inside," said Richards, a Dallas real estate entrepreneur, who is chief executive of First Preston Management and the Tartaglino Richards Family Foundation. "The group felt like it needed some kind of visual clue linking the building with the program.

"And the lawn that faces Stadium Drive is a prominent spot on campus. It was perfect for a piece of art."

On May 6, the Rockefeller Building got its landmark when TCU unveiled "Range Duty," an 800-pound, 6 1/2-foot, bronze sculpture depicting a ranchman clad in a duster huddled near a fire.

"This newest addition to the TCU landscape will enrich our campus for decades to come," announced Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. to a crowd of about 50, including trustees, administrators and faculty and students of the Ranch Management Program.

The sculpture is a fitting tribute to the culture of the program, which began in fall 1955, and the agribusiness industry of today, said J. Luther King, Jr. '62 '66, chair of the Board of Trustees.

"The values TCU's Ranch Management Program perpetuates are the values born on the Western frontier: rugged determination, a belief in the power of the individual and an incredible can-do spirit," King said. "Those qualities are captured in 'Range Duty.' "

The statue was presented as a gift from the Tartaglino Richards Family Foundation in honor of the program's Class of 2009, of which Richards' older son, Michael Stewart Richards '08 (RM '09), is a member. Richards' younger son, David, is a member of the TCU Class of 2012.

Besides having a son educated in the program, Richards said she admires the resourcefulness and industriousness of people working in the industry. The United States owes a debt to those professionals.

"Ranchers and farmers were America's first entrepreneurs," Richards said during her remarks. "The cattle and livestock they raised provided the economic incentive for the expansion of the railroad across the continent. Their practice of sharing resources and proceeds was also a foundation of our banking industry. ... I hope this statue represents that spirit."

If beef production levels are an indicator, the U.S. relies heavily on the ranching industry, said Kerry Cornelius '86, director of the Ranch Management Program.

"Ranchers produced 1.6 billion pounds of beef last year," he said. "With our emphasis on resource management and the ability to produce, I think it illustrates the importance of the leaders we have coming up."

The sculpture is marked with a quotation by 19th century English social thinker John Ruskin: "The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."

New Mexico artist Star Liana York was inspired by her own father's work on the Western frontier. She sculpted "Range Duty" in fewer than six months, saying that the man's belt buckle and a raindrop on his hat are her favorite details.

"He's a ranchman checking for mavericks (cows without a brand) in the toughest of conditions," she said. "He's out on the range and has his branding iron in the fire that he's trying to get going. He's wearing a slicker. It's cold, rainy and blustery, but from the look on his face, he knows he's going to get the job done. There's a satisfaction and pride in that."