I must be dense. I cannot fathom why the University of Iowa Center for Advancement is proposing to spend up to $700,000 to build seven “gateway” monuments. (The Gazette, July 1.)
The proposed monuments are dull and unimaginative, something you’ll find elsewhere, especially in cemeteries.
Unique and highly visible markers already inform visitors that they are at the UI, e.g. the Old Capitol, the Pentacrest, Boyd Tower, and Kinnick Stadium.
What is the purpose of these monuments? Are they truly meant to be “wayfinding?” People now use their phones for both orientation and navigation.
Has anyone considered what the rest of the world, especially the people in Iowa, think about spending six figures to build “monuments?” The UI asks the Regents repeatedly for more money so tuition doesn’t have to increase. A regent might ask, “Why increase funding if the UI Center for Advancement has money to blow on these monuments?”
There are better uses for that money. For example, the Center for Advancement needs to raise several million dollars to build the UI Stanley Museum of Art. The price for seven granite monuments could go toward the museum, which will be a space to exhibit its notable works of art, some of which are recognizable worldwide. A $700,000 donation could instead help students cover a tuition increase.
I would strongly recommend that the UI Center for Advancement reconsider this monument project and find another use for the money that has some merit.