1983 Sculpture Gets New Home at Alumni Center

1983 marked UT’s Centennial Celebration, and the University celebrated all year: the festivities ranged from a time capsule (to be opened in 2083) to a musical spectacular to campus-wide open house.

One part of the celebration was a 62-pound sterling silver sculpture commissioned by the Texas Exes and presented as a centennial gift to UT.

More than 500 alumni donated silverware and jewelry, which Dallas artist Miley Tucker Frost, ’63, melted down and remolded into the sculpture. On the finished piece, thin silver wires orbit a large three-dimensional star and replica of the Old Main building.

In a special ceremony, then-Texas Exes president Jean Kaspar, BA ’52, handed over the sculpture—titled “The University of Texas: Past, Present, Future”—to former UT President Peter Flawn.

According to the July|August 1984 Alcalde, the sculpture was destined for a permanent home at the Performing Arts Center (now renamed Texas Performing Arts).

But that didn’t happen. No one we’ve heard from remembers how long the sculpture was on display, but we do know that it spent many years in dusty closets—first at the arts center, and then back at the Alumni Center.

In Nov. 2011, after the Alumni Center completed renovations, Texas Exes program director Carol Barrett remembered it.

“The new foyer has a modern look to it, and there was a big empty space under the stairs,” Barrett says. “I thought the sculpture would go great there.”

So a staffer dug it out of a closet, and after a trip to Austin’s Old Timer Clock Shop for minor repairs, it was installed earlier this week.

For her part, artist Frost was thrilled to hear the news. She now lives in Virginia, and has sculpted everything from a gold American Eagle coin for the U.S. Treasury to a monument for Southern Methodist University. “Silver tends to tarnish,” she says, “so I’m amazed it’s still looking good.”

Next time you’re in the Alumni Center, take a peek under the stairs in the new Wofford Denius and Charmaine Denius McGill Foyer. A striking piece of UT history is resting there.

Top: The sculpture in its new home. Middle: Past UT vice president Shirley Bird Perry, past UT president Peter Flawn, past Texas Exes president Jean Kaspar, and Centennial Project Chair Tom Cravens examine the sculpture in 1984. Bottom: Close-up view of the Old Main replica.


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