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Iconic U of I ‘Alma Mater’ Sculpture Removed For Repairs

Workers removed the iconic Alma Mater sculpture for repairs on Tuesday. (Credit: U of I)

Workers removed the iconic Alma Mater sculpture for repairs on Tuesday. (Credit: U of I)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Students taking a stroll along the University Of Illinois campus may notice something missing this fall.

The Alma Mater sculpture was removed on Tuesday for renovations and repairs. The statue will get its makeover in suburban Chicago.

The 82-year-old work of art is a popular spot for graduation photos, and university officials hope to have it back on its pedestal on Wright and Green streets by commencement next spring.

Since its dedication in 1929, the sculpture has gone decades without proper maintenance.

Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio Inc., in Forest Park, was recently approved to repair the sculpture for $99,962, according to the U of I News Bureau.

The sculpture’s last major repair was done in 1981 by Robert Youngman, a university sculpture professor. When workers removed the sculpture on Tuesday, they found a note from Youngman, thanking people for their help.

The statue is made up of four bronze pieces. At the center is Alma, a woman standing with outstretched arms welcoming her children, and behind her is her throne. To her right is Labor, a muscular young male iron worker. To her left is Learning, a young woman based on the Greek goddess Athena Lemnia, according to the U of U News Bureau.

alma mater 1 Iconic U of I  Alma Mater Sculpture Removed For Repairs

The Alma Mater at University of Illinois. (Credit: University of Illinois/Facebook)