Monsters, Inc.

Models of animated characters Mike Wazowski, far left, and James P. Sullivan from the Disney-Pixar film Monsters, Inc. are displayed on the second floor of the Langford Building C on the Texas A&M campus. Students seek good luck on their exams by placing coins at the feet of “Sulley” — a tradition usually reserved for the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue in the Academic Plaza.

Students from the Texas A&M architecture department and the visualization lab have another Sulley on which to put their pennies, now that James P. Sullivan and Mike Wazowski of Monsters, Inc. have taken up residence in Langford Building C.

The Texas A&M Viz Lab has been ranked as one of the top animation schools in the country and boasts alumni who have worked on many of the most well-known animated films in recent decades, including the Incredibles series, Brave, Zootopia, Finding Nemo and Monster's, Inc. and its sequel.

A quick Google search will tell you that our big blue friend Sulley was named so as a tribute to Lawrence Sullivan Ross at the suggestion of a Texas A&M graduate, but according to William Jenks, director of the Viz Lab, that fact has never been confirmed by Pixar.

Nevertheless, the urban myth has persisted, and the duo has found a new home in Langford C.

Barbara Klein, the undergraduate program coordinator with the department of visualization, says that these versions of Sulley and Mike were "born" in 2001 as original displays for the release of Monster's, Inc., and she first came across them at a Toys R Us adorned with a sign that read "Register to win!"

Despite not winning, Klein said fate was on her side.

Sulley and Mike had fallen into disrepair over the years, and a church youth group was ready to trash them, but a fellow teacher at the time rescued them from the garbage, Klein said.

The statues found themselves in Klein's hands soon after, and they were repaired and displayed in a high school animation class for years.

"I was very excited," Klein recalled, "Since Monsters, Inc. is one of my all-time favorite animations ... when I made the move to Texas A&M University, I knew that Mike and Sulley belonged here as well. They made the short journey in the back of a truck to their forever home as the new mascots of the visualization department."

She says that she moved the duo into Langford about two months ago and that there wasn't much pomp and circumstance involved.

The statues had to be taken apart to be moved, and Klein noted that when they first arrived, it was not uncommon to see a student carrying a wayward arm through the halls and that there were a surprising number of Instagram posts featuring Sulley's head in various locations around the building.

"[Sulley and Mike] enjoy watching the daily traffic on the stairs and do their part to help advertise for clubs by holding posters of upcoming events," Klein said. "Once moved into their current location, Vizzers were quick to carry on the tradition of placing a penny on Sulley for good luck."

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(1) comment

citizen1

If I were Disney-Pixar I would take a second look at being so closely associated with Sullivan Ross, especially since it is increasingly clear that he was a white supremacist. He was an active participant in the ethnic cleansing of central Texas where he led death squads to massacre Native American; he also took Indian children as slaves. He committed treason and volunteered to join the Confederate army where, as a Brigadier General, he led the fight for the institution of slavery. He was well-known for not taking black Union soldiers as prisoners. As Texas governor, he sided with the forces of Jim Crow, working to systematically disenfranchise African American Texans. Check out his involvement in the so-called Jaybird–Woodpecker War down in Ft. Bend County. Instead of encouraging the practice of idolatry at his statue, the University should move it to Cushing and tell Aggies the truth about Ross. Just sayin'

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