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BS/MEng Mechanical Engineering
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The Albert Paley Legacy

(November 19 2010) Written by: Alissa Anderson in Life After RIT

In case you missed my twitter feed today, Ihave been working all night updating my tour script and gearing up for worknext quarter. 

I have been giving tours on the RIT campusfor over two years now, but the constant campus improvements (both physical throughthe addition of new buildings; and mental in the addition of new majors andprograms) make working as an ambassador a constant challenge to stay relevant.Every time I read through the tour script I am greeted by a new name orbenefactor I am unfamiliar with... OR I see something I am completely familiarwith in a new light... take for instance the Sentinel Sculpture. 

albert_main.jpg

The Sentinel Sculpture is located at thefocal point of campus - the center of the quarter-mile - in front of theStudent Alumni Union (SAU) and the George Eastman Building (Building 1, home toDr. Destler's office). 

I cannot tell you how manytimes I have walked or driven past this sculpture, hundreds? Thousands? It isimpossible to miss it on the way to class and I am certain every student on thecampus can recognize the structure. I say structure, because many are unawareof the history and the story behind the Sentinel. 

As a tour guide we aretaught that the Sentinel was constructed in 2003 by a former RIT professor,Albert Paley. The artwork weighs roughly 110 tons and is about 7-storieshigh…Depending on who you ask, some students will tell you it is a horseman onhis steed (not that the RIT history has any connection to horses, we were thetech men before we became the tigers…); others will tell you it is a weathercontrolling structure of superpowers. I am a true believer in the story that Paley’sintent was to create a cultural piece for the campus to symbolize the unity ofthe colleges on campus and the college-experience.

Needless to say, theSentinel is a landmark on the RIT campus, and for some reason I had the urge togoogle the artist and see what I could find. My first link was toalbertpaley.com, where the opening shot on his homepage is our lovely Sentinel.

albery_paley_homepage.jpg

It’s great to see that thesculpture has such a large impact beyond the campus.

I also found that there isa book documenting the design and construction of the Sentinel, which I mayhave to check out when I get back to campus next week. 

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