A life-sized bronze sculpture of the mountain lion or cougar that’s indigenous to the hills around Cal State San Marcos, was unveiled Tuesday, Sept. 2, in its permanent home in Tukwut Courtyard. Tukwut, the Luiseño word for cougar or mountain lion, serves as the university’s mascot and spirit symbol. 

Last year, the university commissioned local artist Robert Freeman, who was born on the Rincon Reservation in San Diego County, to create a sculpture of the mascot in recognition of the university’s connection with the Native communities.

Freeman’s work encompasses realism, abstractionism, cubism, impressionism, portraiture, cartoons and murals. He has won numerous National Indian Art Awards in oil painting, watercolor, pen and ink, and sculpture. His public works include a commemorative seal for the State of California embedded on the Capital steps in Sacramento, murals at the Perris Museum in Perris, California, as well as sculptures in Capistrano and Santa Fe Springs. His artwork has been exhibited at the Riverside Museum; University of Vermillion, SD; Shriver Gallery, Kansas City; and Sioux Museum, Rapid City, IA.

Tukwut, the Luiseño word for cougar or mountain lion, serves as the university’s mascot and spirit symbol.