Alma Mater

Alma Mater

Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the Urbana-Champaign campus is the iconic Alma Mater statue crafted by the renowned sculptor and alumnus Lorado Taft ‘1879. Unveiled on Alumni Day, June 11, 1929, it depicts, in Taft’s own words, “a benign and majestic woman in scholastic robes, who rises from her throne and advances a step with outstretched arms, a gesture of generously greeting her children.” Behind her are figures of a woman representing “learning” and a man depicting “labor” joining hands. Together they symbolize the University’s motto, “Learning and Labor.” Engraved on the base of the statue is the inscription, “To thy happy children of the future, those of the past send greetings.”