As anyone of a certain age can attest, the years take their toll. So when it was time for presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson to return to places of honor in Russ Hall, Art Department Chair Rhona Shand stepped up to make sure they looked their best.
For most of Russ Hall’s history, busts of Roosevelt and Wilson occupied alcoves on the second floor of the building. The sculptures – copies of works by sculptor P. Bryant Baker – were removed from Russ Hall and placed in storage when the building was renovated in 2000. The busts, with a number of dings and chips, did not return when Russ Hall was reopened in 2002.
As plans for the observance of the centennial of the Russ Hall fire were finalized in the spring, organizers decided it would be nice to return the iconic sculptures to their place of honor. Shand volunteered to make sure the presidents looked their best.
Shand took on the task of making minor repairs to the busts and giving them a new, impressive finish. Across campus, carpenter Pat Bennett built wooden pedestals on which to mount the sculptures. Graphic designer Larry Jump, meanwhile, created signage to attach to the bases.
“It really was a labor of love and it turned out to be a fun project,” Shand said. “I got a kick out of driving around town with two presidents sitting in my car.”