Among 618 name suggestions and 521 student votes, senior engineering major Kyle Morales and his submission “Ol’ Rip” prevailed by 33 percent in the Name the Frog contest.
The announcement made Wednesday afternoon took place at the site of the recently installed Horned Frog between Reed and Scharbauer halls.
The plaque included Morales’ name, the winning entry and his graduation year. Along with his plaque, Morales will also receive lunch with Chancellor Victor Boschini.
While many students might associate the name Ol’ Rip with the nearby Tex-Mex restaurant and bar Old Rip’s, Morales wanted to share the significance of where the name originated.
After being named the winner, Morales read his inspiration aloud. He spoke of the Texas legend of Ol’ Rip, a horned frog, who survived after being sealed in a time capsule for 31 years in the Eastland County Courthouse in 1897. Despite disbelief, the frog, named after Rip Van Winkle, became a prominent figure throughout the state, according to reports in 1928.
Morales said he first read of the tale in an issue of TCU Magazine.
The Name the Frog contest, beginning March 27, set out to find the name for a bronzed, semi-pointed Horned Frog created by artist Joe Spear in New Mexico. John Lumpkin, director of the Schieffer School of Journalism, took interest in the frog, and found a way to bring the nameless reptile to the university.
Ann Louden, chancellor’s associate for external relations, decided to get students involved in putting a name to the university’s newest addition. By partnering with TCU 360, the Name The Frog contest took action. For two weeks students submitted ideas for the Frog, which later promoted five students and their ideas to the top 5 spots by Louden and others within her department. Over 500 students voted for the top five before Morales and his tale received top honor.
Boschini said he thought students would want to get involved in the contest, but he was shocked and amazed by how many students chose to participate.
“Overall I think the name is great, it is what the students wanted,” Boschini said.
Morales, who appeared incredibly humble after receiving acclamations from the gathered crowd and both Louden and Boschini, said he is grateful for Spear’s creation of the statue and for all those who put the contest together. Although he plans to be a part of TCU long after graduation, he will now have even more to look forward to on post-graduation visits, Morales said.
“For the rest of his life, he’ll have something on his college campus that his alma mater named because of him,” Boschini said.
Throughout the unveiling, Morales continued to remain short and modest, but Louden wanted to make clear that the magnitude of the honor may just have been a little much for Morales to grasp.
He, as well as his family, should be very thrilled about the significance behind having a permanent fixture on his campus where he is soon to be an alumnus, Louden said.
“He might not be able to put this into words today,” Louden said. “But I guarantee if you talk to him five years from now, he’ll have a lot more to say.”