Entry Level - John Wesley Powell Rotunda
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Enter the The Ames Library and be greeted by the John Wesley Powell Rotunda. Located
in the rotunda is a life-size sculpture of John Wesley Powell, created by local artist
Each spring, Illinois Wesleyan University celebrates student scholarship with the John Wesley Powell Student Research Symposium. The conference is named for explorer and geologist John Wesley Powell, a one-armed
Civil War veteran and a founder of the National Geographic Society who joined Illinois
Wesleyan University's faculty in 1865. He was a pioneer in using field work to teach
science. In 1867 Powell took Illinois Wesleyan students to Colorado's mountains, one
of the first expeditions of its kind in the history of American higher education.
Later, Powell was the first director of Bureau of American Ethnology, which today
is part of the Smithsonian Office of Anthropology.
Walk into the rotunda and be surrounded by artifacts from John Wesley Powell's field
work in the American Midwest.
If you stand near the statue of John Wesley Powell, look up. You'll discover a quote
oft repeated by the late Minor Myers, Jr. during his presidency. The quote is incribed
in the Founder's Gate, which marks the west entrance to the University.
"We stand in a position of incalculable responsibility to the great wave of population
overspreading the valley of the Mississippi. Destiny seems to point out this valley
as the depository of the great heart of the nation. From this center mighty pulsations
for good or evil must in future flow, which shall not only affect the fortunes of
the Republic but reach in their influence other and distant nations of the Earth.”