UIAA President Loren Taylor: Lincoln on Lincoln

UI Alumni Association President and CEO Loren Taylor (Photo by Larry Kanfer)

It’s been coined “Lincoln on Lincoln” by University of Illinois trustee Ed McMillan ’69 ACES.

And with good reason: A life-sized bronze sculpture of the 16th president of the United States has recently taken up permanent residence at the east entrance of the Alice Campbell Alumni Center—located on Lincoln Avenue in Urbana.

Gail Veasman Kellogg ’65 LAS, a former member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, had enjoyed the piece of art on her front porch before graciously donating it to the UI Alumni Association this fall.

Created by Colorado artist Mark Lundeen, the sculpture shows Abraham Lincoln sitting comfortably on a bench, his well-known stovepipe hat upturned in his lap and notes for his second inaugural address in his hand.

Of the Lincoln likeness, Kellogg says, “I had put it into my will because I thought the University should have it.” But after touring the newly renovated Lincoln Hall in 2012, Kellogg, a retired partner and current consultant of Hewitt Associates, says she asked herself, “What are you waiting for?”

The sculpture, she adds, “is very human and approachable, so I hope it will pique people’s interest in Abraham Lincoln, his writings and all he said and did.”

And, like the fan-friendly Alma Mater statue, Kellogg hopes people find the Lincoln piece “wonderful and fun. I hope they sit on the bench with him, take pictures with their kids, and enjoy interacting with it.”

Kellogg’s hopes for such interactions have already come true. During Illinois Homecoming activities at the Alumni Center in October, visitors sought out the statue to snap their photo with the venerable Abe.

The sculpture proves an especially significant addition to campus as the University nears its 150th anniversary in 2017. It was Abraham Lincoln, after all, who in 1862 signed into law the Morrill Act, opening the doors of higher education to the general public by establishing land-grant universities, of which Illinois is one.

The Alice Campbell Alumni Center is a place where all alumni can come back to the University and feel welcome and at home. Gail’s generosity adds an appropriate presence that will only enhance the loyalty and pride alumni have for the University—loyalty and pride that future alumni will hold as well.

Loren R. Taylor
President and CEO