"You've got to be half mad to do this," said Bill Catling, APU chair and professor, pulling on a silver jacket that closed in the back. With matching pants and a cylindrical helmet of the same material, Catling looks like he's going to the moon rather than the foundry behind the East Campus Art Center. But when about to work with bronze at 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit and a furnace that melts the metal at 2,000 degrees, one can't be too careful. "We used to do this before we had safety equipment, wearing jean jackets and bandanas," said Catling.

Few students and visitors to APU's campus know the transformation behind the three, full-sized bronze sculptures around campus. Catling knows better than anyone, having worked on them all.

Anyone visiting APU's West Campus notices the newest eye-catching addition: a life-size angel perched on a rock in the Darling Courtyard of the John and Marilyn Duke Academic Complex. Designed and created by Catling, David Carlson '98, and Lucian Saxton '99, the sculpture stands more than three-feet tall.

Sitting with head in hands and wings outstretched, the angel memorializes Vivian Felix, wife of APU’s former president Richard Felix, Ph.D., who was deeply devoted to the growth and development of APU students. Catling explained the choice of composition as a reference to Christ's resurrection. "When the women came to Jesus' tomb, they only found an angel sitting on a rock. Vivian isn't here. She's been raised."

The angel joins Catling's other bronze creations, namely Mary Hill and Cornelius P. Haggard, Th.D. Barefoot and just over 5-feet tall, the figure of Hill looks peaceful and peculiar among the roses at the West Campus garden that bears her name. The sculpture's bare feet, closed eyes, and open hand are symbolic of the birth she gave to what is now Azusa Pacific University and her connectedness to the school.

In contrast, Catling's depiction of Haggard, sitting on a bench in the heart of East Campus, was intended to invoke a spirit of levity. "The man must have had a sense of humor, to have guided the school through some of the darkest years of the 20th century," said Catling. When students bestow hats and other festive decorations on the sculpture, Catling says he does not think the real Haggard would have minded.

A Place of Healing: The Vivian Felix Memorial creates an entirely different environment. "People are initially responding by interacting with the space in a reflective state," said Carlson. "It was neat to see that happen, because before the sculpture was installed, we could only hope to create a place that inspired reflection." The artists attribute their accomplishment in creating the angel to a "spiritual group process" of prayer by the artists, and Felix family and friends. For those involved, the fact that the transformation from molten metal to an aesthetic and spiritual point on campus was accomplished by members of the APU community makes it all the more significant.