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Illinois

Beloved NIU Mascot Lives On In Bronze

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Emily Reed, WNIJ
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The statue was unveiled before the football game against Eastern Michigan University on Oct. 26, 2017

Campus community members celebrated as the statue of NIU’s former mascot, Diesel, was unveiled near the football stadium.

The statue's pose recreates the "magic" moment when the Huskie high-fived a cheerleader on ESPN.

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Credit Emily Reed, WNIJ
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Sculptor Renee Bemis hopes people will give each other a high-five as they pass the statue of the beloved NIU mascot who died in 2015.

NIU alumnus Dominick Archer has been coming to games for more than 30 years.

“Great dog," Archer recalls. "His owner, Tom, was just unbelievable in terms of his contribution. All volunteer for home games and road games. [We] saw him everywhere."

Diesel served as NIU’s mascot until 2013. He passed away in 2015 from lymphoma.

Sculptor Renee Bemis says she was inspired to recreate the Huskie's famous high-five.

“That was the iconic pose," Bemis explained. "That was on ESPN so we were memorializing that pose. He was giving a cheerleader a high-five so here we want people to go by and give people a high-five.”

Organizers say they’re still raising money through a Go Fund Me page to cover the cost of the statue.