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Alma Mater Won’t Return to Campus Until 2014

Alma Mater restoration

Restoration of the Alma Mater is underway at the conservation of Culture & Objects Studio in Forest Park, Illinois. (Andy Blacker/University of Illinois)

An icon on the University of Illinois' Urbana campus won’t be back for more than a year. The restoration process of the Alma Mater statue will also cost more than originally thought.

The bronze sculpture will not return until the next academic year, returning sometime in early 2014. Alumni donations for refurbishing the 83-year old fixture will total about $360,000, about three times the project’s original cost.

The statue is often used as a kind of rite of passage for graduates to pose with it. U of I spokeswoman Robin Kaler said art and design students are creating replica statues with that in mind.

“They feel pretty confident they can do several of them," she said. "They’ll be decorated different ways, and then they’ll be placed in various spots around campus, and we’ll highlight that, and let graduates know where those spots are. You can go and get your picture taken with several different alma maters – each with a little different personality.”

The Alma Mater was hoisted away by crane last August to take care of heightened corrosion and rust. 

Lasers are being used to remove the statue’s oxidation, returning it to its original bronze color. 

Designed in 1929 by Larado Taft, the statue was placed at the corner of Wright and Green Streets in 1962.

Alma Mater Statue Moved on the U of I Campus (1962):

Categories: Art and Culture