After weeks of an organized Office of Alumni Advancement ‘Who’s George?” campaign, the statue of George Eastman was finally revealed in ceremonial fashion last Saturday as part of Meliora Weekend festivities.
The new statue, located on the Eastman Quadrangle between Morey and Lattimore Halls, was built in honor of George Eastman, whose donations were pivotal to the establishment of the River Campus, as well as to the new generation of donors.
The statue is a gift from current UR Board of Trustee member Larry Bloch ’75,who has been a member since 1998, and his wife Cindy Bloch.
Bloch said that he made the donation to celebrate George Eastman and current and future members of the George Eastman Circle a fundraising group in its second year that supports the University Strategic Plan.
‘Gifts to the George Eastman Circle provide critical unrestricted support to the University, to meet its greatest needs and opportunities,” he said. ‘George Eastman provided a wonderful example of philanthropy directed at just those purposes. The members of the George Eastman Circle perpetuate the tradition of inter generational giving that sustains the excellence of this University.”
In alignment with Meliora traditions, it is intended that the statue serves not only as a reminder of Eastman’s philanthropy, but as a vehicle to motivate and influence future donors.
‘Our fundamental motivation was to recognize both George Eastman’s legacy, vision and philanthropy and to recognize leadership support of the University’s Annual Funds,” Bloch said. ‘Hopefully, this statue will become iconic and inspire others to reach a little higher to be ever better and to help others.”
The statue depicts George Eastman, founder of Kodak, who was known for his generous donations especially for education. Eastman was not only responsible for the creation of the Eastman School of Music, the Eastman Theatre and the school of Medicine and Dentistry but also for supporting the move of UR to its current location on the River Campus.
In 1924, Eastman donated $30 million to UR, saying that, ‘The progress of the world depends almost entirely upon education.”
After his suicide in 1932, Eastman’s will left a majority of his fortune to UR. Eastman’s name is commonly found around the University in several places, including on the River Campus, where the Eastman Quadrangle is named after him.
Marc Mellon, one of the nation’s renowned sculptors, has added the larger-than-life bronze piece to his long list of works. Some of Mellon’s most noteworthy pieces include the inaugural medal for President Barack Obama, portrait busts of former President George H. W. Bush and Pope John Paul II and the NBA MVP trophy.