Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 15, 2017

Oak Leaf Sculpture (1)

The new Oak Leaf sculpture stands tall in front of Cordier Auditorium. Artist Mark Krucke installed the sculpture in late June 2017, using a combination of different metal materials. 

Photo courtesy of the Marketing Department

Oak Leaf Sculpture Symbolizes MU's Mission 

Kaity Collins 

Most oak leaves are lightweight, but there’s a new 2,500 pound one—in bronze—in front of Cordier Auditorium. In late June, Manchester began installing an oversized oak leaf sculpture by artist Mark Krucke.
Final preparations for the sculpture’s completion were finished late August, before the beginning of the fall semester, to ensure students could fully experience the new addition to Manchester University’s campus.

The newly-added oak leaf sculpture stands outside Cordier Auditorium upon a cement pad, overlooking the Mall on campus. “It’s a great location to take a commemorative photo of your time here at Manchester,” says sophomore James Cash. The sculpture itself is 12 feet tall, forged from a combination of different metals that make up its overall structure, such as sheet bronze for the outside appearance and steel rods to act as the skeleton and inner support due to the sculpture being hollow.
Specially constructed to withstand all weather conditions, the sculpture is welded to two steel rod stands that are bolted to a thick concrete block directly underground the sculpture to keep the oak leaf stable and firmly rooted to its current placement. The bronze will also gradually change in color when exposed to the outside elements, as bronze tends to naturally do.
“I hope it gets more of an antiqued bronze finish rather than the blue-green oxidized color,” said Professor Jeff Diesburg of the Department of Art. Regardless, he thinks that the sculpture is a symbol that will continue to represent Manchester University now and far into the future.

Plans for the oak leaf were first put into motion in fall 2015 following a generous donation to fund the idea of a sculpture that distinctly symbolized Manchester University and promoted civic good through the arts. Artist Mark Krucke, a highly praised metal sculptor, was chosen by Manchester University to design and construct the oak leaf sculpture.
Krucke and the Department of Art cooperated on the process of the sculpture’s creation and came to the agreement of the sculpture being in the form of an oak leaf. Krucke’s studio is located in Sarasota, Fla., which is where the oak leaf was formed before being transported to the Manchester campus via car and trailer by Krucke himself in late June 2017. 

Why the oak leaf? “It’s an image with which we identify at Manchester,” said Professor Thelma Rohrer, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “It enriches our campus for everyone.” 

Diesburg agrees. “With every graduation class, the oak leaf will grow as a symbol of the University,” he says. Although it may be a good thing that the sculpture will not grow in size, its growth in symbolic value may be immeasurable.