April 20, 2002
Remarks by Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke at dedication of Class of '52 Scuplture Saturday (4/20).
Education: Its Promise for Today and Tomorrow
John Ruskin was an art critic, artist, scientist, poet, and philosopher in Victorian England.
He said: "Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts: the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art."
So it is with universities.
We are gathered here this morning for a very important event to dedicate a work of art that will become a part of this campus for generations to come.
This work, titled "Transformation," will become part of the great tradition of Purdue.
It will be added to our autobiography.
It will become part of the feel and look of Purdue.
We know that other works of art around our campus have become gathering places where people stop to meditate, to relax, to study, and to dream.
So too, this place where we are gathered today will become an important part of the experience that is Purdue.
Purdue is more than a classroom, more than a library. It is more than a residence hall, a fraternity, a sorority, or a football stadium.
It is more than red bricks and mortar though that is very important to what and who we are.
Purdue is the green shade trees that have been planted along the walkways that guide us through campus.
It is the grassy places where students throw Frisbees, read books and fall in love on spring days.
It is the gardens, the fountains, the sculptures and works of art that grace the landscape around us.
This campus has quietly become one of the most beautiful in the nation.
We are adding to that beauty today.
To know and understand Purdue, one must walk through this campus, see it, feel it, smell the blossoming trees and flowers.
Purdue is a place to be experienced.
Art is an important part of the experience.
Pablo Picasso said "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
It also challenges us. It opens our minds. It relaxes us, yet stirs our unrest.
Art is how we as people express all our deepest emotions concerning life all that we understand, and all that we do not.
A campus without art would be a place without feeling.
"Transformation" -- the work we are celebrating today -- is remarkably appropriate for Purdue at this moment.
I believe Purdue is at a transforming moment when it is prepared to launch forward into preeminence on an international scale.
"Transformation" symbolizes all that is happening at Purdue.
It also represents what happens in the lives of students who come here as teenagers to learn and emerge as adults, competent, confident, and productive.
Speaking for everyone from Purdue University, I want to thank the Class of 1952 for this magnificent gift.
You have forever placed your image on this beautiful campus.
Thank you to Steve and Jane Beering for their leadership in this.
Thank you to the artist, Faustino Aizkorbe for his expression of Purdue.
Thanks to all who contributed and made this possible.
Beverly Sills sculpted images with a magnificent voice that once it was heard, could never be forgotten.
She said: "Art is the signature of civilization."
The artwork we place on this campus, is the signature of Purdue.
It will tell future generations that this was a place we loved.