Charles Duncan McIver, founder of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG), decided Minerva, goddess of Wisdom and Women’s Arts, would be a good symbol for the school. Beginning with the first diploma in 1893, the head of Minerva has appeared on every diploma awarded by this institution. The image of Minerva is also on the University Mace, designed in 1968.
An old statue of Minerva, a gift of the Class of 1907, stood in the entrance hall of the Students’ Building. The Students’ Building, located on College Avenue, was razed in 1950. By 1965, the Minerva statue was placed in Elliott Hall on the occasion of the Greensboro Club Garden Show, she had already lost one forearm and her spear. Over time, the original plaster statue of Minerva became damaged beyond repair.
A New Vision
In 2003, upon the occasion of their 50th class reunion, the Class of 1953 commissioned artist James Barnhill to create a new Minerva statue to be located in the east courtyard of the renovated Elliott University Center. The bronze sculpture is approximately nine feet high. She sits atop a six-foot limestone pedestal to welcome students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors to the Elliott University Center. The sculpture depicts Minerva with one hand beckoning and the other outstretched summoning and encouraging learners.
We thank the Class of 1953 for their generous gift!