July 1, 2015
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The quadrangle north of State Farm Hall has been named Egbers Quadrangle, in recognition of a major gift from Jan Egbers of Bloomington and her family.
The Egbers Quadrangle was dedicated and formally named during a ceremony June 30. The Egbers’ gift also provided funds for the commissioning of a stainless steel water sculpture entitled Aspiration, created by London-based artist Giles Rayner. President Richard F. Wilson noted that the sculpture’s name was chosen by Rayner to reflect the University’s mission as a liberal arts university.
During the dedication ceremony, Wilson said the idea for the quadrangle emerged during the construction of State Farm Hall, when part of Beecher Street was closed to provide a staging area for the project.
“We were drawn to the idea that we could create a new quadrangle on the north side of the campus that would solve a perennial safety problem for students, connect the north and south parts of the campus in a meaningful way, and perhaps spawn new traditions at IWU,” Wilson said.
He added that Jan Egbers was interested in a project that would, in part, pay tribute to the relationship between her family and IWU and to the significant service of her late husband, Gary Egbers, a 1972 Illinois Wesleyan graduate. Gary Egbers was an active member of the Illinois Wesleyan Associates Board and member of the Board of Trustees before his untimely death in 2004.
“I could hardly contain my enthusiasm for creating this quadrangle,” Wilson said of initial conversations with the Egbers family. “Jan and her family embraced the idea as well and we quickly began to develop a plan.”
A plaque honoring Gary Egbers has been placed at the entry to the quadrangle. Both Wilson and George Vinyard ’71, chair of the Board of Trustees, expressed their thanks and appreciation to the Egbers family for their support throughout the years and for the financial gift to renovate and landscape the quad and to commission Aspiration.
“We are grateful for the commitment that the Egbers family has made to this project, for their commitment of time and energy at various stages, and for their loyalty to IWU,” Wilson added.
At the dedication, Jan Egbers told the audience that “their journey began” when she and Gary were married in 1968 and lived on campus when he became a student at IWU. “He valued his experience immensely here,” she recalled, and noted that as a business owner whose time was at a premium, he always made time for service to Illinois Wesleyan.
“This dedication and this gift in honor of Gary is a continuation of the journey for all of the students in future years here,” she said, adding that the gift to develop the quadrangle and commission the sculpture “is something we wanted to do to keep his legacy alive.”
In an email message to the campus, Wilson noted, “we are very fortunate to have alumni and friends like the Egbers who provide support for projects that enhance the quality of the campus for all of us who are part of the Illinois Wesleyan community.”