Milwaulkee Journal Sentinel
Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Marquette Honors Namesake With New Sculpture
article by Josh Hertzog


Passers-by take a look at the new statue of Père Jacques Marquette that was mounted to its base Tuesday behind the Raynor Memorial Libraries on the Marquette University campus.

The bronze figure, which honors the 17th-century French, Jesuit missionary and explorer for whom the Jesuit university is named, was created by New York sculptor Ron Knepper and stands 8 feet 2 inches tall and weighs between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds.

In an effort to keep alive the history behind Marquette University's namesake, Father Jacques Marquette, a sculpture was created in his honor and placed on the university's campus, behind the Raynor Memorial Library, 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The bronze sculpture, which stands eight feet, two inches tall and weighs between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds, displays the rugged 17th century French, Jesuit missionary and explorer, known for his explorations with French trader Louis Joliet. It was installed on Tuesday.

According to the sculptor, Ron Knepper, a Fort Wayne, Ind. native who currently resides in New York and teaches at Parsons School of Design, it wasn't an easy project, due to the scarcity of Father Marquette portraits to work from.

"There were some images of him with long hair and images of him as bald, so I incorporated both with the sculpture," says Knepper. "I wanted him to be rugged-looking, but a charismatic person as well."

"It was almost a two-year project," adds Knepper.

Dr. Toby Peters, who chaired the sculpture committee, is very excited about what the sculpture signifies.

"It creates a wonderful image people will associate with Marquette," says Peters. "It's not a statue. It's a sculpture that tells a dynamic story."

Dr. Curtis L. Carter, director of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette and the man responsible for finding and recommending the artist to the committee, shares Peters' feelings.

"The sculpture helps to define the identity of the relationship (with the university)," says Carter. "It adds a meaningful work of art to visit."

The statute as dedicated Friday, Sept. 23 at 11:30 a.m. to students, staff, alumni and friends at a ceremony honoring the artist and donors. The Marquette Band performed.


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