Sonoma State University got a prominent new student this month. “Peanuts” cartoon strip’s Lucy van Pelt joined the student body in the form of a 5-foot, 500- pound statue, proudly decked out in Sonoma State’s school colors.
“Sonoma State University President Judy Sakaki noticed many statues around the area in Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa and felt the campus needed to have one as well, because of the influence of the Schultz family,” says Shirley Armbruster, Public Information Officer for the university. “It was September 2017 when President Sakaki mentioned to a Sonoma State Foundation Board member that she’d like to see a Peanuts statue outside the SSU library.”
Word got out that the university was looking for a Peanuts character statue and within a few weeks one was found tucked away, unused, in a beauty shop. It was obtained by Lisa Clyde of the Schulz family and donated to the university.
Over the years the Schultz family and foundation have been generous friends of the university. They donated an especially significant amount of money to the building of the library, now called the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center. Therefore, it was only fitting that the Lucy statue have a prominent position in front of the library.
“That spot is a high traffic spot as well,” says Armbruster. “It will get a lot of viewing as tours go by and students, faculty and staff walk by on the way to classes. It’s the perfect spot for it.”
The sculpture had to be completely restored, which was done by local artist Mary Vaughan. After refurbishing the statue Vaughan “dressed” Lucy in Sonoma State’s colors: a dark blue Sonoma State shirt with the Sonoma State University name and Seawolf paw print over a light-blue dress, blue socks and blue-and-white shoe strings on her white shoes. On the pedestal painted in blue sky and clouds, she added the inscription, “When it comes to learning, the sky is the limit.” Restoration was made possible by the Jean and Charles Schulz endowment.
The official unveiling of the statue occurred March 6, with President Sakaki and Library Dean Karen Schneider making remarks before revealing the newest Seawolf. Jean Schulz, widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz, was on hand for the unveiling as well.
“Projects like this where we have community members work with the university to make something happen are really special,” says Armbruster. “It shows how the community and the university, when they work together, can really accomplish great things. This may be a small example but it still is an example of working together to make something happen. We love to have the community involved and have folks come out and take a look at it and enjoy it, as well as the whole campus. There’s so much on the campus that is accessible to the community that we’d love to have people be more involved.”