New Statue "Spirit of the Springs" Enhances Campus Landscape

Spirit of the Springs Statue

2010-11-18

A symbolic representation of Ohio Dominican University’s earliest origins has taken the form of a sculpture created by artist Alfred Tibor. The sculpture, entitled “Spirit of the Springs,” has been placed in the garden area between Spangler Learning Center and Wehrle Hall on ODU’s main campus, the site on which the former academy was located.The statue, a tribute to the women who attended St. Mary of the Springs Academy, was commissioned by the St. Mary of the Springs Academy Alumnae Association, which raised funds for its creation.

St. Mary of the Springs Academy was a private Catholic high school for young women. It was located on the near east side of the city on what is now the Ohio Dominican University campus, from 1868 to1966. The academy shared Erskine Hall with the College of St. Mary of the Springs (the earliest name of Ohio Dominican University.) The Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace, operated both the academy and the college.

The academy welcomed girls from all parts of the city. Uniforms, strict discipline, and high educational standards were the norm. Four generations of women attended the school. Many graduates went on to attend the College of St. Mary of the Springs. Some alumnae joined the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs.

A reception recognizing the lead donors to the Spirit of the Springs campaign was held Sunday, October 10, 2010, in Wehrle Hall. Katie Paolini, the academy’s alumnae president, led the brief program. Special guests included Tibor; ODU President Peter Cimbolic; and Sister Margaret Ormond, O.P., prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. An official dedication will take place in the spring of 2011.

The steering committee of academy alumnae who worked on the project include Molly Butler, Anne Kochensparger Powers, Peggy McGreevy Walter, Bebe Miller Finn, and Lou Ann Yardley Moritz Ransom.

“Today, a group of alumnae hopes to create an increased interest in the alumnae association of the academy by acknowledging the existence of the school and remembering its place in history,” Paolini said. “The placement of a sculpture near the space once occupied by the academy will bring awareness to alumnae, their heirs, and the public.”

Artist’s Statement
“Through my art, I emphasize subjects that deal with life and life’s experiences. In the creation of the piece for ‘The Spirit of the Springs’ Project, I began with the title of the piece for my inspiration. I was moved by the word ‘springs.’ I focused on that word. The word itself held so much promise, so many possibilities. Life, as part of the circle and cycle of life, begins with the spring. Spring represents a renewal, rejuvenation, a new beginning, and the hope for the future, for some, a ‘first’ beginning. And so it was with St. Mary of the Springs Academy. The Academy educated young minds, those minds in the ‘spring’ of their lives, young women, like the bird, about to take flight. The Academy educated and shaped the minds of young women in the hopes of a better tomorrow.

“As an artist, I use my pieces to create an inner feeling, a human feeling. I hope to leave others with a sense of renewal and of hope. As a Holocaust survivor, I believe my life was spared for this purpose, my work. Whether it is one of my Holocaust sculptures, a biblical figure or a woman standing proud and tall, the human aspect of the piece is what is being expressed to the viewer – that there is beauty and value to be found in all our lives, for I truly believe life is a celebration. The ‘Spirit of the Springs Project’ is yet another chain in that celebration.”