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Alma Mater, Urbana

4.6
#8 of 19 in Things to do in Urbana
The Alma Mater is a bronze statue by sculptor Lorado Taft, a beloved symbol of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The 10,000-pound statue depicts a mother-figure wearing academic robes and flanked by two attendant figures representing "Learning" and "Labor", after the University's motto "Learning and Labor." Sited at the corner of Green and Wright Streets at the heart of the campus, the statue is an iconic figure for the university and a popular backdrop for student graduation photos. It is appreciated for its romantic, heraldic overtones and warmth of pose. The statue was removed from its site at the entrance to the university for restoration in 2012 and was returned to its site in the spring of 2014.DescriptionThe Alma Mater is a bronze figure of a woman in academic robes. She stands in front of a stylized throne, or klismos, with her arms outstretched in welcome. The attendant figure "Labor" is a male who stands to her proper right and wears a blacksmith's apron. At his feet lies a sheaf of papers. The proper left figure "Learning" is a female robed a classical gown with a sun bas-relief on front. Learning and Labor extend their hands in a handshake over the throne. The work stands approximately 13-feet tall. The granite base carries three inscriptions: Front: "ALMA MATER / To thy happy children / of the future / those of the past / send greetings" Left (Green St side): "Given to the University / by the sculptor / the alumni fund / and the senior classes of / 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929." Right (Altgeld side): "Her children arise up and call her Blessed" Proverbs 31:28.The long flowerbed stretching from the front of the Alma Mater to the corner of Green Street and Wright Street is known as the Alma Mater Plaza.
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Alma Mater Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
32 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • Being a graduate of the University of Illinois - Chicago Circle way back when, I was skeptical when I heard about the Alma Mater tradition from my son who was graduating with an M.B.A. at the Universi...  more »
  • Loved seeing the Alma Mater after many years away. It is so worth the stop if you're back on campus.  more »
Google
  • Iconic illinois landmark
  • Amazing statue, and even better since it’s been cleaned!

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