Henry is the brass panther that proudly guards the main halls of Austin High School. Howard Hoffman, who helped make the panther, shares his story…

 “In 1955, as Jim Goodman and I were finishing the work on Mandy the Mule, we were contacted by a representative of the Austin High School PTA, to make a panther for the school. We were students at Texas Western College, now known as UTEP, at the time. The panther was made in Vet Village, a housing area on campus where we lived. The museum on campus had a room filled with mounted animals; this collection was a great help in providing information on the appearance and movements of animals. By the time the work on the panther was finished it was time for me to start my teaching career (I had done my practice teaching at Austin High School with the art teacher). I was not able to go to the foundry while the panther was being casted, so the next time I saw the panther, Henry was at the main entrance of Austin High School.”

The Class of 1955 presented the panther to the school, where he has been seen guarding the main entrance ever since. For years, the Panther has been a gathering place for students and a central figure on our campus. Exes who return still remember telling friends, “Meet me at the panther!”  In the past, prior to each Austin Homecoming, Henry was polished and made presentable for all the homecoming visitors.

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2 thoughts on “Henry

  1. My name is Brian Hoffman, I’m Howard Hoffman’s son. I was just a kid when my dad and Jim Goodman made the wooden and plaster statues that were late used to cast the two metal statutes {Mandy in steel, and Henry in brass). Dad worked hard on both of the projects and got very little money and even less credit for his creations, especially Mandy. He died a few years ago in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas where he retired. I am so pleased that Austin High School has remembered him and the beautiful statue he and Jim created. Thank you.

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