In an effort to give back to the school that gave them so much, six members of the Class of 1975 are planning to leave a stamp of their era on Dandelion Square.
Thomas Strauss, Randy Essex, David Lesser, Merrill Feinberg, Susan Robbins and Bruce Tandy have each contributed money to a fund that totals $7,400 and will use the money to purchase two 18-by-18-inch granite blocks that surround the square.
A message significant to the four-year period that they were undergraduates will be inscribed on the blocks.
?We were offered the opportunity to purchase a plaque on a bench in Dandelion Square, but we thought it would be fun to find some words from a song, a verse, a poem, a slogan or something else that would reflect the period during which we attended UR,? said Strauss, an investment banker and partner in the firm of Rosetta Partners LLC.
A committee comprised of the financiers is asking current students to suggest a message to put on the stones. It will then choose the best one and use it as the inscription.
?The lyrics from such groups as the [Grateful] Dead, Chicago, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Traffic and Jethro Tull come to mind. But there are endless other opportunities,? Strauss said.
?There are no specific criteria, but the message should probably be succinct, intelligent, challenging and thoughtful,? he said.
Strauss said that while the winner would not receive any prize, he expects that ?whoever comes up with the words ultimately chosen will get a great deal of satisfaction seeing those words chiseled in stone.?
Initially, the alumni wanted to buy several bricks in the square and put one word of the message on each brick, but that posed some logistical problems, Strauss said.
?Our concern was that since the bricks in Dandelion Square are configured in a herring-bone pattern and are rather dark red in color, it would be hard to read,? he said.
Based on information that Strauss has received from the administration, he said that there is room on the two blocks for a message of three lines, 30 letters per line including spaces.
?Making a financial contribution is a logical means of saying ?thank you?. Contributing as a group underscores the lasting friendships that began many years ago and capturing a 1970s lyric etched into the granite slabs on Dandelion Square is one way of expressing who we were,? said Essex, who contributed the most at $3,000.
The granite blocks, also called pavers, are flat slabs that can be given as a gift to the university at a cost of $5,000 each said Vice President and University Dean of Students Paul Burgett.
?The gift does not represent the cost of the brick but rather is an expression of appreciation for the gift,? Burgett said.
Students and parents can purchase bricks and have a permanent message placed in Dandelion Square on their behalf.
?We hope, in addition, that our initiative might spur others to make similar gestures of support for UR,? Strauss said.
Anyone with ideas for the inscription can e-mail Strauss at firstname.lastname@example.org