Statues of prominent thinkers from the Age of Enlightenment, the Renaissance and the 20th Century will be unveiled at the dedication of Louisiana Tech”s Spirit Park Thursday, Oct. 16, at 11 a.m.
The park, located on Hergot Ave. between Davison Hall and the Biomedical Engineering Building, is a gift from the class of 1950. The statues and a fountain were donated by Mr. and Mrs. John D. Caruthers in honor of his parents. Caruthers is a retired Shreveport lawyer.
Caruthers said the idea for the park came during their 50th year class reunion in 2000 when he and Cecil Harris, 1950 senior class president, were exchanging ideas on a gift from their class.
“He and I decided that our group would raise money to build the park in honor of our class,” Caruthers said. The original park included benches and sidewalks.
Caruthers said over the next few years, he and his wife gave much thought to additions to the park. In 2006, they came up the idea for the sculptures and a fountain.
“We felt like that there should be some sculptures that would be inspiring,” he said. They decided on Voltaire, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King and Albert Einstein.
“These four that were selected had special meaning to us,” he said. “They were all victims of tyranny and some paid with their lives.”
He said Voltaire represented the Age of Enlightenment. He said they had an affinity to Ann Frank and Martin Luther King “because they were both born in 1929 when I was born.”
About King, Caruthers said: “His achievement was so great that it emphasized the shortness of his life. It made me more grateful for me to live to be nearly 80.”
Frank was a Jewish girl who lived and died during the Holocaust. Caruthers said he was inspired by this expression gleaned from Frank”s writings during her two years of hiding from the Nazis: “In spite of everything, I still believe in the goodness of people.”
Caruthers said he and his wife were moved by Einstein”s belief that the arts, the sciences and religion are roots of the same.
“We thought that this would stimulate thought on the part of students,” Caruthers said. “All of these statements might encourage some student in micromanufacturing or biomedical engineering to come up with something beneficial to humanity.”
The artist who created the sculptures, Don Huntsman of Cardondale, Co., will be in town for the mounting of the sculptures.
Caruthers graduated from Tech with a degree in political science and French. He said this was a fitting way to honor his parents, J.D. and Veva Ozley Caruthers, who both loved Tech. His father who worked in the petroleum industry graduated from Tech in 1929 with a degree in what was then called commerce.
Caruthers said his father was president of the Tech Alumni Association in the 1950s and he was president in the late 1960s.
Written by Reginald Owens