Purpose, if not form, is appreciated

Graffiti proves that some don't respect the wall that is meant to honor alumni.

Matt Graham

Philip Dziuk stood before the wall, reviewing the list of names etched across its surface.

“I’m one of those names on there,” he said, noting that his first name was misspelled, with an extra letter added.

“That’s Philip with one L,” he said. “I don’t know where they got that extra one.”

The retired professor of animal science and reproductive physiology at the University of Illinois is one of the 1,000 honorees of the Outstanding Achievement Award featured on the Alumni Wall of Honor.

The award is the highest honor the University bestows upon its alumni.

Dziuk – who received several degrees from the University, including a Ph.D. in dairy husbandry in 1955 – is one of 400 living honorees of the award. About 120 are in town today for the wall’s unveiling.

University alumnus and WCCO radio voice Dave Mona will preside over today’s event, from noon to 1 p.m. It will double as a homecoming pep fest, with performances by the University Pep Band and Spirit Squad, prize drawings and a lunch.

The event is free to the public.

The ribbon-cutting will be this evening after a dinner for the award winners.

Regent Dave Metzen said the wall is a good addition to the campus. “To me, this celebrates what we’re really all about,” he said.

Metzen said he is glad the University is honoring scholastic achievement, which he said sometimes doesn’t receive as much public recognition as it should.

Construction began on the 260-foot wall in July 2004 and was intended to be finished by November 2004. It was funded by $2 million in private donations under the auspices of the University Gateway Corporation.

The principle donor was alumni and Outstanding Achievement Award winner Carlyle Anderson, who was also a major contributor to the McNamara Alumni Center and the Scholars Walk.

Architect Antoine Predock and sculptor Constance DeJong designed the wall. Predock also designed the McNamara Alumni Center, which is next to the wall.

The wall is made with corten steel, designed to oxidize naturally over time.

Some students don’t like the orange-brown, oxidized look.

“It looks rusty,” said first-year student Lindsey Swanson. “It’s cool that they’re honoring people, but they could have made it look nicer.”

But sophomore architecture student Zach Lewis said he likes the wall’s design.

“I think it looks pretty cool,” he said. “It ties in well (with the Alumni Center).”

Dziuk also approved of the wall, though he said he had issues with the graffiti that is already appearing on its surface.

“This is not the kind of thing you should put graffiti on,” he said. “I would hope people would have respect for their own campus.”