NC State is located in the heart of Raleigh—the City of Oaks.
Juxtaposed with the endless expanses of red brick and the modern and classical lines of central campus are oak trees, many of which have been here for as long as the institution has existed. Rather than destroy the natural beauty as the university has expanded, efforts have been made whenever possible to incorporate the trees into the aesthetics of the campus.
Many years ago, the location that is now Wolf Village was a farm. During the designing of Wolf Village, three large, mature trees that were part of that farm were protected from construction. The trees became known as the “Oak Circle” and were qualified as Heritage Trees by NC State’s Heritage Tree Advisory Committee. The committee, appointed by Kevin MacNaughton (Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities), is charged with identifying and protecting landmark trees that have developed historical or aesthetic value because of age, rarity, or association with an important event or person, or memorial significance to the university.
In 2015, it was determined that one of the Oak Circle trees was affected by root disease and would have to be removed for health and safety precautions. As the tree was considered a Heritage Tree, the university sought to honor it in some way. After the oak was uprooted, University Housing engaged local chainsaw artist Jerry Reid to find a meaningful manner of repurposing the wood.
Over the course of four days in late April 2016, Reid, in conjunction with Randy Boni, an artist from Pennsylvania, transformed the wood into four sculptural wolves standing on an outcropping of rocks, using a variety of chainsaws. To provide more depth to the wolves, portions were skillfully burned to result in a texture that mimics a wolf’s coat. Eyes were created using glass. The wolves were formed from the trunk of the tree and from a large piece of limb.
The piece has been entitled Spirit of the Wolfpack and will eventually rest in the lobby of Gray Hall. The current piece of artwork in Gray Hall, a wolf designed by Jim Gallucci of Greensboro as part of the Red Wolf Ramble project in 2001-02, will be moved across the courtyard to the lobby of Red Hall.