Committee plans for stadium memorial

The veterans’ memorial will serve as a central gatheringplace on campus.

Lora Pabst

Although the proposed on-campus football site will carry the name of corporate sponsor TCF Bank, Stadium Veterans Committee members hope to recapture some of the spirit of the old Memorial Stadium.

While the state Legislature has not yet approved the stadium, the committee met Monday to discuss the concepts behind a memorial they hope will be a gathering place for everyone on campus.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dennis Schulstad, co-chairman of the committee, said the members decided the memorial will be outside the stadium so it will be accessible to everyone.

“This is something for the University,” he said. “It’s not just for the football team or the fans going to a football game.”

Linda Thrane, University Relations vice president and the committee’s co-chairwoman, said the committee will not decide the final design for the memorial but will present guiding principles to the stadium’s architect.

The committee would like to see the memorial become a site where University ceremonies such as graduation or homecoming could be, University lobbyist and committee member Donna Peterson said.

Schulstad said, “If there were a Memorial Day service on campus, I would probably expect them to go (to the memorial).”

Elsa Karman, a student-veteran and committee member, said the memorial should include room for honoring future veterans.

“One of the things we wanted to do is memorialize the past, present and future,” she said. “We have to make room for the future conflicts and sacrifices.”

She said lights and flags should be used to “bring about an emotional state.”

“When someone sees this we want them to feel moved,” she said.

Karman said the memorial is important for veterans returning to school.

“There is nothing here to represent them,” she said.

Thrane said the committee doesn’t know how much the memorial will cost until the Legislature approves the project and an architect is hired. Most stadium planning can’t start until the Legislature approves the stadium bill, she said.

She said committee members will help fundraise for the memorial.

The committee is not a part of the University’s lobbying effort for the stadium bill, Peterson said.

Co-chairman Schulstad said he still intends to talk with legislators about the need to pass the stadium bill.

The committee will meet again when the legislative approval happens or at the end of the legislative session if the bill isn’t passed by then.

Committee members also discussed what other universities do to honor veterans, but they are looking for an “original idea,” Karman said.

“The stadium draws in a lot of people,” she said. “It’s going to be a very visible memorial.”