Biographer to highlight Carver statue dedication

Melissa Berg

Iowa State’s yearlong George Washington Carver celebration will come to a close with the dedication of the newly bronzed sculpture of Carver Thursday.

The dedication will take place at 11 a.m. in the courtyard between Carver and Beardshear halls.

The ceremony will feature speeches from Lynette Pohlman, director of University Museums; Carver biographer Peter Burchard; ISU President Martin Jischke; Government of the Student Body President Bryan Burkhardt and local Ames contributors John and Linda Dasher.

Murray Blackwelder, vice president for External Affairs, said the university has held many events this year to honor Carver.

“The goal of the year was to do something lasting for the year,” he said. “The sculpture is the major and final event for the Carver celebration.”

Jischke said the dedication is a wonderful close to the yearlong celebration.

“It is a beautiful sculpture that will be rededicated and will remind us of Carver as a student, as a scientist and everything he has done for the university,” he said.

The sculpture originally was created in 1949 by Christian Petersen, the artist-in-residence at ISU after the depression in the ’30s and ’40s.

Petersen taught art classes and created the Fountain of the Four Seasons, King of Life and George Washington Carver sculptures on campus, Jischke said.

For the celebration, the Carver sculpture was sent to J & M Studios of Minneapolis to be cast in bronze. The statue’s facelift was made possible by a $19,000 donation from the Dashers.

Linda Dasher said she felt the contribution was necessary.

“[Carver] was a very important person in ISU history, and we felt he should be honored,” she said.

John Dasher is chairman of the ISU Foundation board of directors, and both Dashers currently are members of University Museums Curators Associates, which Linda Dasher chairs.

Murals created by Carver artist-in-residence Youssef Asar of Egypt also will be unveiled Thursday at noon in the east foyer of the Food Sciences building.