Monday, July 24, 2017

The McIver Statue: Memorializing a Founder

Charles Duncan McIver was born on September 27, 1860, to Henry McIver and Sarah “Sallie” Harrington McIver in Moore County, North Carolina. He entered the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill in 1877 and graduated in 1881. 

Charles Duncan McIver, ca. 1895
After graduating from UNC, he accepted the assistant headmaster position at the Presbyterian Male Academy in Durham, North Carolina.  McIver was elected principal of the newly established graded high school in Durham in 1882.  After two years, he resigned his position in Durham for a teaching position at the Winston Graded School in Winston, North Carolina, where he met his future wife, Lula Martin.  They were married on July 29, 1885 and had four children.

McIver accepted the position of head of the literary department at Peace Institute, a girl’s school in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1886.   While in Raleigh, he lobbied for a normal or teacher training school for women.
   
In 1889, he and Edwin A. Alderman were chosen by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to conduct a series of teacher institutes to instruct teachers and enlighten the public about the need for a normal school in North Carolina.
   
With an annual salary of $2,500.00, McIver was appointed the first president of the newly established State Normal and Industrial School in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1891.
   
The McIver Statue in front of the
McIver Memorial Building,ca. 1956
Unfortunately, he died on September 17, 1906, at the age of 45; however, he did see his dream of founding a college to educate women in North Carolina realized – that institution is now known as The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Shortly after McIver’s death, a committee was appointed by Governor Robert Glenn to raise funds to erect a statue in McIver’s memory.  Two bronze eight-foot statues of McIver was sculpted by French-born American artist Frederick W. Ruckstuhl in Paris, France, and cast by the Fonderie Nationale des Bronzes in Brussels, Belgium. The original statue costing $7,000 and was erected on the State Capitol grounds in Raleigh, North Carolina, and dedicated on May 15, 1912.  A duplicated statue costing $1,100 and was erected on the campus of the State Normal and Industrial College now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  The statue was dedicated on Founders Day, October 5, 1912, and stood in front of the McIver Memorial Building.

The McIver Statue after restoration, 1990/91
After the McIver Memorial Building was razed in 1958 and the current McIver Building erected in 1960, the statue was relocated to the area in front of Jackson Library, a more central location on campus.  Starting in the late 1950s, students began to paint and decorate the statue, so by the 1980s, the statue was in disrepair due to the weather and being periodically cleaned with cleaning solutions.

In November 1990, the statue was shipped to Karkadoulias Bronze Art, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio, to be cleaned and restored.  After the restoration, which totaled $7,500, the statue was returned to campus on May 10, 1991 in time for the university's centennial celebration.
   
Since its dedication more than 100 years ago, the McIver Statue has been and continues to be one of the most recognizable images on campus.


This post was written by Hermann Trojanowski.

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