Arts & Entertainment and Higher Education

College unveils statue of namesake

May 4, 2016
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St. Thomas Aquinas statue Aquinas College
Courtesy Aquinas College

Visitors to a local college are now being greeted by a statue of the school’s namesake.

Aquinas College in Grand Rapids unveiled and blessed today a sculpture of St. Thomas Aquinas at the school’s Fulton Street E entrance.

A “generous” donation from Lt. General (Ret.) John Novak and his wife, Maureen Novak, made the sculpture possible.

“My hope is that students, faculty, staff and, indeed, the entire community will see this as a gathering spot for teaching, learning, reflection and prayer,” said Juan Olivarez, president, Aquinas College.

The statue

The sculpture was commissioned from Jay Hall Carpenter, a nationally recognized artist who has created more than 500 sculptures in his 20 years working at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Standing nine feet, the bronze statue is displayed atop an eight-foot granite base located at the circle drive inside the newly renovated Fulton Street E entrance.

The statue's dark-patina look represents the black regalia worn by academics.

“The impetus for this project came from the need to create a grand entrance to the campus, with entry walls to define the space and a traffic circle to encourage a slow and stately approach,” Carpenter said. “I have endeavored to create a sculpture, which, through its silent presence, refreshes the viewer with interest and curiosity."

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