Melissa Korn of The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating story about an iconic display at Tuft’s University.

One has to wonder what the campus animal rights activists have to say about the subject!

When Dick Reynolds contemplated a six-figure gift to Tufts University, he knew it wouldn’t be enough for a new building or even a wing. But he was thinking big.

So he commissioned an 11- by 18-foot bronze statue of the school mascot, P.T. Barnum’s storied elephant named Jumbo.

The actual stuffed hide of the great beast—a 19th-century animal superstar—had been displayed on the Medford, Mass., campus for decades. Students would stuff pennies in his trunk for good luck before exams. But, in 1975, the real Jumbo was lost in a fire.

A papier-mâché and concrete replacement from a local amusement park served as a cheeky stand-in beginning in the 1990s. Mr. Reynolds aims for something more grand, and more authentic, with his 5,000-pound gift to his alma mater.

“To know that we’re going to have one that looks like a real elephant, I think that’s important,” says Mr. Reynolds, class of ’67. “This thing was one god-awful, ugly, gray elephant.”

…The new Jumbo’s journey to Tufts—125 years after the original arrived—has hit some snags. The school staged an art exhibition, scheduled presentations on circus history and commissioned a book, preparing for Jumbo’s arrival at homecoming this fall.

But the statue’s creation—a complex process that includes hard industrial foam, rubber molds, reinforced ears, tail and trunk and a road trip from California—is coming along at a snail’s pace.

It is now expected to make its campus debut in the spring.