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Memorial to be built in honor of Tony Alley

Tuesday, February 12, 2008  
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By Kimberlee Rhodes

After the passing of Tony Alley, professors and students alike were eager to honor his memory in some way. On Jan. 30 chapel was dedicated to Alley's memory, and a special announcement was made about a campus memorial in his honor.

Many professors are involved in the memorial's making already.

"The idea came out of a collaboration of a meeting with several faculty members and administration," David Crismon, professor of art and design, said. "The impulse is to have something visible and tangible that the students and OC community can use on a daily basis and in the future."

Although still in the early stages of planning, people are eager to get started. After discussing many ideas, one was decided upon by the department.

"The people in Art & Design wanted something that you could see," Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Lowry said. "We got to thinking about the area outside of Tony's office, and we thought that would be wonderful."

The plan is to landscape an area that students can enjoy, but at the same time have it be a memorial to Alley.

Lowry expects to continue to be a part of the project in some way.

"Right now, my job is to stay out of the way of a creative idea," Lowry said. "Then my idea is to work with the development people to help with fundraising, coming up with ideas for how to make this a reality. It's going to take some time, planning, resources gathered, and I'll participate in all of that."

Many students and professors were touched by Alley's impact and are eager to see the memorial constructed. Senior Matthew O'Laughlin is one of them.

"He was a mentor of mine," O'Laughlin said. "One of the important things for me to see was that the person who was in the line of work I was pursuing was the kind of person that I wanted myself to be."

Most of the planning is, at the moment, being done by professors because the announcement in chapel was the first some people had heard about it.

"I have a feeling that everyone in art and design will be on board with it before long," Lowry said. "The idea is to involve as many people as we possibly can."

Those involved are looking for as much help as they can acquire.

"We need as many [people to help] as possible," Crismon said. "We'd like help from students and donors. The project is only limited by money and resources."

Michael O'Keefe, professor of art and design, explained what help they would need for the project.

"Eventually, we want it to be encompassing," O'Keefe said. "Right now, the circle is the art and design department, David Lowry, John deSteiguer and Jo Griffin."

The design plan is still in the design stage, but O'Keefe has a few ideas of what it will look like.

"Our initial idea is to have a minimum of three tables with four chairs at each table," O'Keefe said. "Also on the north wall of the art department, there will be a polished granite slab about a foot thick that spans the length of the wall that chisels out Tony's life history."

Plans for completion of the project point toward the near future.

"We'd like to have it finished and in place as soon as possible," Crismon said. "A timeline hasn't really been set up, but we'd like to have it finished by spring near the end of school so the students can enjoy it. We have no intentions of protracting it for a long period of time."

Several people expressed how they thought Alley would feel about the dedication. All came back with the same answer.

"I think he would be a little embarrassed because he was so humble," Lowry said. "At the same time, he would also be pleased. As long as we did something for the students and something that promoted OC, I think he'd just love it."

Crismon had similar thoughts about Alley.

"Well, Tony wouldn't be one to draw attention to himself," Crismon said. "His foremost concern would be that it would be something the university and the students could use, and wouldn't be primarily about him. Tony liked to get outside and garden, so I think he would like it."

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