When Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden visit Gustavus Adolphus College on Friday, Oct. 5, the College will dedicate the newly constructed Sesquicentennial Plaza. The Plaza is a design element of the new West Mall, which connects Christ Chapel to the Linnaeus Arboretum.
The Sesquicentennial Plaza features a historic timeline of the College from its founding in 1862 to 2012. Included in the timeline is a time capsule intended to be opened by the Class of 2012 at their 50th class reunion and the College’s Bicentennial celebration. The Plaza also features an amphitheater and landscaping intended to create gathering places for the community. The sculpture Palindrome, by Paul Granlund ’52, the memorial fountain honoring the Rev. Melvin Hammarberg ’33, former Bishop of the Minnesota Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, says in classic Greek characters, “Wash your iniquities, not only your face.” The sculpture continues to reside west of the Chapel, although in a slightly different location in the Plaza area.
The most prominent feature of the Plaza is the newly installed Sesquicentennial Sculpture. The sculpture was designed by Sesquicentennial Sculptor Greg Mueller. Mueller was charged with creating a piece that would symbolize the significance of the 150th anniversary year and reflect in some way the work of Granlund, the College’s longtime sculptor-in-residence.
Mueller worked with Granlund and wished to incorporate Granlund’s fondness for the helix and Mobius strip forms that he used to represent time and spiritual growth. Mueller was also inspired by the signature architectural element in Christ Chapel – the strong vertical lines tapering and expanding into the infinite.
Mueller also considered how to honor and reflect the beginnings of Gustavus in 1862 with one student and how it continues to persevere and grow. Each year the College has been in existence is represented by a new layer, a new turn, like the spiral of a shell. All of these elements combined were the inspiration for the final product – a sculpture of 150 stepped layers turning in the form of a tapering double helix. This 16-foot tall piece has alternating layers of Kasota stone and metal.
The Sesquicentennial Plaza will be dedicated at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 in a ceremony that is free and open to the public.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin