Robert Morris students can share golden moment with 'Bronze Bob'

Debra Erdley
| Sunday, April 20, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

He may have had a heart of gold and a bank account to match, but Robert Morris, financier of the American Revolution, will have to be content to be “Bronze Bob” on the Moon college campus bearing his name.

Robert Morris University will introduce “Bronze Bob,” a life-size bronze statue of Morris relaxing on a park bench, in a ceremony on Monday.

The statue, a gift from the Class of 2013 and the Zonn family, will be installed on a grassy plaza between Franklin and Hale centers, along the main pathway through campus.

“We wanted something students could interact with. And we don't have a lot of traditions here, so we are hoping to start one with ‘Bronze Bob.' You have to sit down with ‘Bronze Bob' and take a picture before you graduate,” said Alan Buehler, a member of the Class of 2013's Gift Committee.

Sid and Ellen Zonn, who joined with the class to underwrite the gift, were not available for comment. Sid Zonn retired from the university as general counsel. His wife, Ellen, retired as a faculty member in the English department.

The idea caught on quickly with Buehler's classmates. They nearly doubled their $5,000 fundraising goal for the statue, he said.

The statue is based on a standing one of Morris outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Morris, who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, had no apparent connection to Western Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, when Richard Kuehn, who was president of the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy, began scouting for a new name for his school in 1935, he settled on the Robert Morris School of Business.

In hindsight, it was an appropriate choice for a university that ultimately grew out of a business school.

“He was treasurer of the United States and financed the Revolutionary War. This guy knew what he was doing with money,” Buehler said.

Debra Erdley is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or

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