Alumni Park to be replaced by new project in breezeway

By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer

Those mysterious-looking black granite pyramids located just outside of Main Hall on the Hoge Quadrangle will soon be a memory. This summer, demolition will take place, and the pyramids will be removed, making way for a new project in its place. Some people have jokingly referred to the pyramids as “tombs,” according to Executive Director of Alumni and Community Relations Ron Witt.

“I’ll admit, they do resemble something you might see at a burial ground or some historical landmark,” Witt said.

Ground was broken in 1996 in the area currently known as Alumni Park. The project was completed in 1997 and served as a way for alumni and friends to leave their mark as a lasting legacy.

In 2000, a special ceremony was held honoring Gary B. Inclan, a Florida resident and 1964 alumnus, who initiated the project. The Park was later dedicated in 2005 in honor of president emeritus and 1953 alumnus Dr. Clyde D. Campbell.

For $100, alumni and friends could have their names engraved in granite. The revenue was divested into two separate funds: $40 for engraving and maintenance costs and $60 went into a scholarship fund.

Fast-forward 20 years and the granite is really starting to show significant wear and tear.

“There are cracks in the granite and one of the slabs is literally sliding off of its base into the railing around the pyramid,” Witt said. “Due to the physical deterioration of the granite slabs over time and the ongoing maintenance costs, a decision was made to remove them from the site and repurpose the area known as Alumni Park.”

Upon considerable research, a decision was made to dedicate a new space on campus where a modern wall display replaces the former Alumni Park. The Main Hall breezeway will be the new location for this donor recognition wall. The new design features individual anodized aluminum donor plates mounted onto glossy black backer plates and affixed to the brick wall in the breezeway. Both the backer plates and donor plates are an anodized aluminum, which is very durable for outdoors. Each backer plate will hold 108 individual donor plates.

Of course, this begs the question, what happens with the 696 alumni and friends names that are already engraved in granite? Those individuals will be grandfathered in the new project, thus carrying forward a new tradition.

This modern wall display will be installed in Spring 2017 and will serve as a symbol of a rich history and an eternal expression of pride. For a nominal price, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends will have an opportunity to have their name added to the wall as a symbol of their Topper pride! More information to follow in the weeks ahead about this project as well as plans for the existing space that currently house the three pyramids. Follow The Trumpet for more information.

Photo credit: Josh Smith