Alma Mater was moved from her pedestal on Aug. 7.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
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Although the inscription on the base of the Alma Mater statue hasn’t changed, the statue’s location did Aug. 7 as workers lifted the 5-ton sculpture onto a truck and took it to Chicago for extensive conservation work.
The move went off without a hitch – meaning the 13-foot-tall sculpture was lifted by crane onto a loading apparatus, and then onto a flatbed truck, without it falling, breaking or otherwise crumbling apart.
The sculpture, created by renowned UI alumnus and artist Lorado Taft and unveiled on campus in 1929, is being repaired because of years of water damage that has affected its appearance and structural integrity.
The campus Preservation Working Group is overseeing the restoration project, which is being completed at Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio, of Forest Park, Ill.
Tests at the studio reveal hundreds of iron bolts on the interior have corroded or disintegrated, indicating serious structural damage.
Donations to the Chancellor’s Fund are paying for the work.
The contract calls for the work to be completed by May 4, 2013, in time for commencement ceremonies and graduates eager to carry on the longstanding tradition of having their photos taken in front of the sculpted ode to the university’s founding concepts of Labor and Learning at Wright and Green streets.
And while Alma will be gone until May, her spirit on campus will remain.
Alma will continue offering commentary on Facebook and Twitter, and a large cardboard cutout of her will appear at various campus functions.