University Park, Pa. -- The gift of Penn State's class of 2005, the Student Life Promenade, is nearing completion.
The artwork, located along the sidewalk on the lawn side of the HUB, depicts student life since the University's founding in 1855. Designed by sculptor Bill Culbertson, of North Smithfield, R.I., the piece is comprised of bas-relief scenes on the faces of five concrete pillars.
"I'm very excited," said Amanda Reinitz, chair of the 2005 senior class gift committee, who now lives in Philadelphia. "It's been a long road, but I'm so happy with the way it turned out. It's great to see our ideas and all the work we put into the project finally coming to fruition. I can't wait to see it in person."
Reinitz said the senior class faced a challenge when they decided to commission an artistic piece.
"We knew from the start it would be a lot of work, but we really wanted to celebrate student life in a unique way," she said. "The artist has been amazing, working with the restrictions we had because of its location, size and subject matter.
"Now we have this beautiful testament that is right at the student center and I'm thrilled with how it turned out -- this wonderful time-travel through 150 years of student life."
According to Chad Spackman, project manager in the Office of Physical Plant, the commemorative piece called for careful planning and attention to detail because of its creative nature and physical structure.
"This is a unique project," he said. "It's not a pre-made sculpture but an individualized piece of art in a specialized medium -- precast concrete. It required constant collaboration between the artist, the students and the University, and there was some trial-and-error involved in all aspects of the process and getting the details exactly right.
"This is going to be a focal point for many years and I'm proud to have been a part of it."
According to Spackman, final touches are being made to the project now and it will be complete by Blue-White Weekend. Nearly 2,500 graduating seniors contributed more than $166,000 for the class gift, colleges, campuses and student organizations.
To learn more about Penn State's senior class gift program, visit http://www.seniorclassgift.psu.edu online.