The Alma Mater statue is arguably the most recognizable part of the Illinois campus. You can find the statue on the corner of Green and Wright Street in Champaign. It was designed by a University of Illinois graduate named Lorado Taft, who has a dorm named after him in the Ikenberry Commons. It was revealed on June 12, 1929.
It’s really a beautiful statue, and it’s shown as a “benign and majestic woman in scholastic robes, who rises from her throne and advances a step with outstretched arms, a gesture of generously greeting her children,” according to Taft. Next to the woman is Learning and Labor, which are huge values here at Illinois.
The words written on the statue are where the meaning of the statue really resonates with me. It reads, “To thy happy children of the future, those of the past send greetings.” It’s interesting to see how a statue can have so much meaning to so many people. To me, it serves as a physical welcoming to the campus. It is located near one of the main pathways to get into the Main Quad, which is another beautiful part of campus, especially during this time of year.
This will be my last blog post because I graduate in about a week. I’m happy to join the hundreds of thousands of alumni succeeding as educated Illini. I will be sure to get back to campus as much as I can. I’m looking forward to becoming one of those lucky Illini from the past sending greetings to the happy children of the future.