Past Features

September 26, 2005 (Vol. 2, No. 2)

Remembering the Legacy of Herbert H. Lehman

President Fernandez presides over the Herbert Lehman bust dedication ceremony.
President Fernández presides over the Herbert Lehman bust dedication ceremony.

The sun shone brightly on the new portrait bust of New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman on September 21, during the College's outdoor dedication ceremony along College Walk. Remembering the man for whom the College is named were President Ricardo Fernández, sculptor John Belardo of the Art Department, Governor Lehman's great niece June Bingham Birge, and History Professor Duane Tananbaum.

For President Fernández, the bust is the fulfillment of a dream he has had since becoming president of the College. He recalled that in his early days as president he took an informal survey on students' knowledge of Herbert Lehman. His disappointment in finding that few knew anything about the former governor only spurred his desire to raise awareness of one of New York's great leaders.

"Like many other pieces of the public art that grace the campus," he said, calling attention to the pergola in front of the APEX, the "Intersections" plaza at Gate Five, and the "Sonic Pass Blue" corridor in the Information Technology Center, "this sculpture will beautify our campus and inspire our imagination. But, most important, it will remind us of the contributions of a great public servant."

Sculptor John Belardo
Sculptor John Belardo

Belardo, who was commissioned to create the new work, talked about the challenges of constructing a portraiture that reflects the soul of an individual, especially when the artist must rely on biographical information and photographs.

"My challenge," he said, "was to create a timeless portrait, one that has a likeness but also reflects the significance of the man. I chose a stable and balanced pose and a composition with integrity. His gaze is long, and peers gently upward, looking to the future."

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