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Taylor Bust Unveiled as Campus Marks 10th University College Anniversary

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March 4, 2009

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About 200 people attended the IUPUI celebration marking the 10th anniversary of University College, the 40th anniversary of IUPUI, and the unveiling of the portrait bust of Dr. Joseph T. Taylor, the first dean of the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Guests attending the February 25, 2009, event included Herron School of Art and Design graduate and Taylor bust sculptor Casey Eskridge, and keynote speaker Eugene White, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools.

In an interview prior to the event, Eskridge, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Herron in 1997, talked about his work creating the bronze portrait bust to be installed permanently in Taylor Hall after the renovation of the Multicultural Center.

Eskridge studied photographs of the late dean as his “models” for the bust.

“I didn’t know Dean Taylor. I probably used a couple dozen photographs . . . from college years, to (wedding) photographs, to later photographs,” he said.
“From looking at the photographs, I imagined him as being a good listener, as someone who while you were speaking to him, he was an intense kind of observer and listener. I tried to capture that.”

The Herron graduate’s portrait bust of her late husband is “wonderful,” says Hertha Taylor, who unveiled the sculpture during the celebration.

“When I uncovered it, I was overcome,” Hertha Taylor said. “It was like I opened a door and Joe was standing there.”

The Taylors’ son, Hussain Taylor, and daughter, Judith Taylor, also attended the IUPUI celebration. University College Dean Scott Evenbeck read a letter of appreciation from their son, Messiach Taylor, who was unable to attend.

Eskridge is nationally known for his “The Birth of Apollo,” a bronze fountain sculpture at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The Taylor bust represents his third piece of art on the IUPUI campus. A commissioned fictional bust of the patron saint of nurses, St. Camillus de Lellis, is installed in the School of Nursing. Another sculpture, a torso fragment, is located at Herron.

“Out of the three, (the Taylor bust) represents a real person that has had an impact on the university . . . When I was chosen to do it, it was exciting. I think the naming of the building and understanding the significance that Taylor had, added to the significance of being chosen for the sculpture,” the artist said.

During the celebration, White and other speakers spoke of Taylor’s contributions to the IUPUI campus, and the larger community.

“It is hard to think of this community without the contribution that IUPUI has made to the greatness of this community. To stand here today (during Black History Month) in a building named after Joseph Taylor, is to let you know how very proud I am to be an African American standing on the coattails of a great man like Joseph Taylor,” White said. “Without Joseph Taylor, maybe no one in Washington Township would have the conscience to bring a Eugene White (as superintendent) . . . Eugene White is very, very indebted to Joseph Taylor and all those others that I stand on as I serve from day to day.”

White, who was superintendent of Washington Township schools before becoming the IPS head, also commended University College and IUPUI for not only providing access to higher education, but for promoting student success.

“I am proud to share this opportunity on this occasion because this university has really demonstrated that you are serious about educating all of the people in our community and not only that, you have taken those young people who were prepared and unprepared (in order) to get them to this university. Therefore I want to salute you for your 10 years of hard work and dedication and I do know that the next 10 years will be even more productive,” he said.

The unveiling ceremony also included the world premier of a jazz number composed in Taylor’s honor by David Baker, Distinguished Professor of Music at Jacobs School of Music on the Indiana University Bloomington campus, and a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award nominee.

Throughout the two-hour event, speakers reiterated the occasion’s theme words – access, success, the future, and community.

“We stand here in Taylor Hall and we see the connection between the leader in Liberal Arts, Joseph Taylor, and the leader in University College for all of these 10 years, Scott Evenbeck, and you see the difference it has made to the lives of so many students who have been affected by the work of University College,” Bantz said. “We have a reason today to smile and think this is a change that has truly touched lives and improved the lives of our students. So let’s celebrate University College. Let’s celebrate 40 years, and celebrate a year of Taylor Hall and of course of the Multicultural Center. But most of all, let’s keep in mind . . . how we have focused on student access and success to create a future.”