UIS to construct Lincoln statue in spring

12-foot statue funded by Chester Fund

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John Kurecki , Feature Writer

Next semester UIS plans to build a statue of Springfield favorite Abraham Lincoln near the center of campus, between the University Hall Building and the Public Affairs Center. The statue is to be created by George Lundeen of Lundeen Sculpture.

George Lundeen is an accomplished sculptor and has ties to the University of Illinois, having received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Champaign and also been commissioned in 2009 to create a sculpture of famous college football star Red Grange, who attended the university in the early twentieth century.

The 12-foot-high statue currently resides in Memorial Stadium, home of the Illini football team.

While there is no set date for the unveiling, students may have noticed construction workers laying a cement foundation in the statue’s eventual location.

UIS Public Relations Director Derek Schnapp said that the university would like to have a larger “Lincoln presence on this campus.” Currently the two major homages to the past president are Lincoln Residence Hall and a bronze life mask in Brookens Library.

The mask was donated to UIS in 2010 by Rick and Dona McGraw, and is one of 15 ever created. It is a bronze cast of a mold of Lincoln’s face taken just two months before his assassination.

Funding for the statue comes from the Chester Fund, which works with the University of Illinois Foundation (UIF) to finance artwork and enhancements to the three university campuses.

The UIF describes itself as “the official fundraising and private gift-receiving organization for the University of Illinois and its three campuses.”

The UIF is a nonprofit corporation which seeks to improve the university through donations and gifts. The organization’s website states, “Although the Foundation is a separate entity from the U of I, the Foundation’s sole reason for existence is to serve the University.”