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Carthage’s dedicates its newest addition to campus, “Vortex”

By Tom Applegarth

June 30, 2014

Carthage’s latest addition, the aluminum sculpture “Vortex” by artist Michael Young, had quite a serendipitous journey to end up placed outside the north entrance of the Campbell Student Union.

“Last summer, we were looking for a piece of art that perfectly embodied Carthage and represented our new brand,” said President Woodward at a dedication of the sculpture on Tuesday, June 24. “When I saw it, I loved it right away. It represented Carthage’s past and future, and everyone we showed photos to agreed.”

Flash-forward to Carthage’s annual Christmas Festival dinner, where President Woodward was having dinner with Dr. Cliff Peterson and his wife, Gladys. Out of the blue, Dr. Peterson mentioned to President Woodward that he loved the “Vortex” sculpture and was reminded of Carthage every time he saw it. When a shocked President Woodward agreed, Dr. Peterson said just five words:

“Well, let’s go get it.”

There was just one problem. The sculpture already had a home. It was to be displayed for two years at Harbor Park in downtown Kenosha. So even if the College could get the sculpture, it would have to wait before it could arrive on campus.

That was not going to be a deterrent.

“I thought it would take a while for the sculpture to get here,” President Woodward said. “Then one day I saw something reflecting light in the corner of my eye and I saw the sculpture on campus. I don’t know how Dr. Peterson did it, but I’m elated.”

Getting “Vortex” from the Kenosha lakefront to its new home was just the latest gift that the Petersons have given the College during a lifetime of support. They have been supporting the College since 1964 when they were inspired to move to Kenosha because they wanted to live in a city that was home to a liberal arts institution.

“This sculpture fits the type of student that Carthage has,” said Dr. Peterson. “It will propel students to greater heights and help them realize their potential. It represents the fire, the energy, and the zeal of every student who attends the College.”

It will continue to do so, because while it had a short detour, it’s finally found its home.