Zenos Frudakis commissioned for Rowan University sculpture

Zenos Frudakis commissioned for Rowan University sculpture

Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J., has commissioned renowned artist Zenos Frudakis to create a bronze statue of Henry Rowan, the school’s major benefactor.

Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J., has commissioned renowned artist Zenos Frudakis to create a bronze statue of Henry Rowan, the school’s major benefactor.

In the summer of 1992, Henry Rowan and his late wife, Betty, made a $100 million gift to then-Glassboro State College (www.rowan.edu/rowangift). That gift changed the face of the institution, leading to the founding of the highly ranked Rowan College of Engineering (www.rowan.edu/engineering)─a first in South Jersey—as well as numerous other initiatives on the University campus.

The Frudakis’ seven-foot-tall statue will be unveiled in the fall during a ceremony that marks the 20th anniversary of the Rowan Gift.

“I am honored to create a bronze sculpture of Henry Rowan to acknowledge his immense generosity toward education,” Frudakis said.

Commissioned by the Rowan University Foundation, the sculpture will reflect Henry Rowan as he was in 1992 when he and his wife made the largest gift to date to a public college or university. Mr. Rowan is a businessman and philanthropist, the founder, president and CEO of Inductotherm Industries in Burlington County, N.J.

Frudakis, based in Glenside, Pa., has created work for the Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C., as well as statues of Frank Rizzo at Philadelphia’s City Hall, Yankees baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, Philadelphia Phillies standout third baseman Mike Schmidt, golf great Arnold Palmer, Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others. (See his work at www.zenosfrudakis.com.)

The Henry Rowan piece will be cast in 12 sections at Laran Foundry in Chester, Pa., with bronze poured from an Inductotherm furnace.

The sculptor has visited the Rowan campus several times to inspect the site for his work, which he suggested be installed in a central location outside Savitz Hall, the main student services building on Route 322.  He also has visited with Mr. Rowan to take measurements, for sittings and to present initial concepts in clay.

Virginia Smith, daughter of Henry and Betty Rowan and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, said that the University’s decision to create such a sculpture has touched her father. “This is a lovely tribute to a man who cares greatly about education and has always believed in making a difference, especially in the field of engineering in New Jersey,” Smith said. “We are all looking forward to seeing this statue on the Rowan campus.”

The Rowans committed their $100 million gift on June 17, 1992, and announced it on July 6. In September 1992, the College’s Board of Trustees voted to rename the institution after the Rowans. The only request the Rowans made with the $100 million gift was that the College develop an engineering program that would revitalize engineering education. Rowan University has done that, offering hallmark engineering clinics that provide students with hands-on experiences starting their freshman year. That approach was unusual at the time the College was founded—programs typically started such work two years later—but it is widely emulated now. Rowan Engineering professors frequently lead national and international groups in their areas of specialty. Students regularly work on projects for the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NASA, the U.S. Navy, state offices and Fortune 500 companies, among hundreds of organizations. Rowan Engineering graduated its first class in 2000. The Rowan Gift also has paved the way for broader initiatives, spurred other donations and continually helped support programs that attract more and more competitive students.