The beacon of UW-Stevens Point on top of the Old Main building has been returned to its historically rich and iconic self, adorned with a new crown.
The newly finished cupola on top of the UW-Stevens Point Old Main building was celebrated in a “topping out” ceremony adorning the Weather Vane Saturday, Dec 3rd.
A “topping out” ceremony is usually a symbolic finishing touch that marks the completion of a building project, in this case, the installation of a weathervane.
“We witnessed the actual lifting of the weathervane with a large crane on top of the cupola,” said Interim Executive Director of University Relations and Communications Bill Berry, “at which time the chancellor and the artists clamored up to the top to dedicate the cupola.”
The weathervane, an exact replica of the 118 year-old original, was forged by artist and ironwork expert Boleslaw Kochanowski. Having been trained by his father, Kochanowski is a recognized, second-generation, master blacksmith from Poland.
During the event, Chancellor Bernie Patterson said to the attending guests that the renovation marked a revitalization of the UW-Stevens Point campus history.
“This is a historic occasion for UW-Stevens Point, as the previous weathervane stood a top of the Old Main cupola for more than a century,” Patterson said.
UW-Stevens Point began restoring its 22-foot-tall cupola earlier this fall; the $60,000 renovation was primarily funded from a donation made by UW-Stevens Point graduate Jim Eggert and his wife, Kathleen, from Rothchild.
Berry said the Eggerts had seen an article in the newspaper about the project and decided that they wanted to help.
“They donated a large sum of money to start, but then decided to donate more a second time,” Berry said.
The ceremony itself was sponsored by the University Foundation, which also had on display some of Kochanowski’s other work.
“The reason it’s of some importance to the University and the community is that it’s the icon of the University, it’s probably one of the most recognizable symbols that represent the University, and it’s on our logo,” Berry sad.
He also said it was a chance for the community, alumni, and long-time friends to get together with students and salute the history of UW-Stevens Point.