FSU to mark Heritage Day with festival, statue unveiling, Legacy Walk

Florida State University will celebrate the 157th anniversary of its founding and its eighth annual Heritage Day on Saturday, Jan. 19.

Heritage Day campus events that are free and open to the public include the Legacy Walk Outdoor Festival  (10 a.m. to noon, Woodward Plaza and Oglesby Union). The ribbon cutting and dedication of phase two of the Legacy Walk will begin at 10 a.m. on Landis Green, followed by the unveiling of a bronze statue of former FSU President J. Stanley Marshall (10:30 a.m. at the west entrance of the new classroom building on Woodward Plaza, just south of Oglesby Union).

Saturday’s celebration will feature historical as well as student activity-focused exhibits plus dance, music and other performances by students. Members of the FSU Flying High Circus also will be on hand. Visit heritageday.fsu.edu for a complete list of activities (including private events for alumni, students, their families and others that require an invitation or reservation).

“There’s so much to celebrate about FSU’s rich heritage, and each year Heritage Day helps us focus on the generations who came before us and their role in making us what we are today,” said Donna McHugh, assistant vice president for University Relations.

“Since our first Heritage Day in 2001 during our Sesquicentennial, we have established our Heritage Protocol preservation project and developed our Legacy Walk through campus,” McHugh said. “Even our new President’s House was built with historic materials and features FSU heritage items. Telling our story through new statues and bench markers, banners and bricks, the proud history of FSU and its predecessor institutions is now available to all who walk our campus.”

This year’s Heritage Day theme is “A Tradition of Student Leaders.”

“FSU has such a distinguished tradition of student leadership that this year we wanted to provide an opportunity for alumni leaders and current students to interact and learn from each other,” said Mary Coburn, vice president for Student Affairs. “Heritage Day 2008 will help alumni to observe first-hand how their legacy inspires today’s student leaders and enriches our campus, and through interactions with alumni, current students will better appreciate the foundations built by their predecessors, and get a glimpse of what their own bright futures may hold as FSU grads.”

At 10 a.m. on Landis Green, FSU will open the second phase of its Legacy Walk, an art-filled historical walking tour that showcases FSU’s architecture, sculpture and green spaces.

Following the ribbon cutting for Legacy Walk II, FSU President T.K. Wetherell will unveil a life-size bronze statue of Marshall, who served as the university’s ninth president during a tumultuous period on many American campuses, from 1969 to 1976, and has remained a dedicated supporter and fan of FSU. The unveiling ceremony, which will include remarks by both Wetherell and Marshall, will begin around 10:30 a.m. at the west entrance to FSU’s new classroom building on Woodward Plaza. Among the VIP attendees will be FSU alumnus and former Florida Governor Reubin Askew.

Appointed as an adjunct professor of physics and head of the FSU Department of Science Education in 1958, Marshall became a leading figure both nationally and internationally in science education. He is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, served for five years on the AAAS Commission on Science Education, and was founding editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. He was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush to FSU’s first Board of Trustees, and in 2004 was confirmed to the State University System’s Board of Governors, on which he still serves. Marshall has garnered numerous awards both on and off campus, including the FSU Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Bernard F. Sliger Award, in 2006.

At the state level, Marshall served with then-Gov. Askew on the Cabinet Reform Commission, and in 1997-98 was a member of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission. Among a host of private and public endeavors, Marshall founded The James Madison Institute, served as president and CEO from 1987 to 2000, and now serves as vice chairman of its Board of Directors.

The bronze statue of Marshall is the second in a series of sculptures of FSU presidents to be placed on campus as part of the Legacy Walk. FSU alumna and Monticello, Fla., artist Melinda Copper created the Marshall statue as well as a Legacy Walk sculpture of former FSU President Bernard F. Sliger. Much of Copper’s sculpting takes place at the FSU Master Craftsman studios on Gaines Street, where FSU students learn hands-on techniques and develop business acumen by working closely with successful area and faculty artists.

The FSU Heritage Protocol aims to locate, identify, record, assist in the preservation of, and promote knowledge about the university’s heritage. It seeks and collects FSU memorabilia of all types. To learn more about this ongoing initiative, visit the Web site at heritage.fsu.edu.