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IUPUI Celebration Features IPS Supt White as Speaker; Commissioned Sculpture and Music Honoring Joseph Taylor


February 24, 2009

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Indianapolis Public Schools’ Superintendent Eugene White will be the featured speaker during a celebration marking the 10th anniversary of University College at IUPUI.

University College will host “Access, Success, and the Future,” from 3 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009, in Room 115 of Taylor Hall, 815 W. Michigan St. The anniversary celebration is open to the public and free of charge.

The event, also being held as part of the yearlong celebration of IUPUI’s 40th anniversary, includes the inaugural performance of a jazz composition written for the occasion by David Baker Jr. in honor of Joseph T. Taylor, the first dean of the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The dual anniversary celebration will culminate in the unveiling of a bust in the likeness of Taylor.

Family and friends of Taylor are expected to join IUPUI faculty, staff and students for the anniversary celebration which is being held on the eve of the annual IUPUI symposium honoring Taylor’s legacy.

A bronze portrait bust of Taylor, sculptured by artist Casey Eskridge, will go on permanent display at Taylor Hall after the renovation of the IUPUI Multicultural Center, located on the first floor of the building. Eskridge, a 1994 graduate of the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI, will attend Wednesday’s celebration for the unveiling of a painted plaster casting of the bust.

The 20th annual Taylor Symposium takes place Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009, at the IUPUI Campus Center. The theme is “Renewing the American Promise.”

Taylor, known for his commitment to diversity and dialogue, served as professor of sociology at IUPUI from 1965 to 1983, and as dean from 1967 to 1978. He died in 2000. The Joseph T. Taylor Symposium is held in honor of his contributions to the university and the Indianapolis community. The IUPUI building formerly known as University College last year was renamed Taylor Hall in Taylor’s honor.

About Eskridge: IUPUI is home to two other Eskridge sculptures: a bust in the School of Nursing and a silver torso fragment located on the grounds of Eskenazi Hall, home of the Herron School of Art and Design.

Eskridge’s commissioned works also include “Birth of Apollo,” the bronze sculpture which is the centerpiece of the main fountain at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tenn. The artist is currently working on the official portrait of former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson that will hang in the Indianapolis City County Building.

About Baker: Baker is a Distinguished Professor of Music at Jacobs School of Music on the Indiana University Bloomington campus. A Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award nominee, Baker serves as the conductor and artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He is the recipient of numerous awards including Down Beat Magazine's New Star Award, the Jazz Education Hall of Fame Award, the National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award, and the National Endowment for the Arts American Jazz Masters Award. Baker's work includes more than 2,000 compositions, including jazz, symphonic, and chamber pieces; and 65 published recordings.

Public parking for the unveiling ceremony is available in the Vermont Street Garage and the Natatorium Garage.