IU Northwest honors Chancellor Emeritus Bergland with sculpture dedication
Indiana University Northwest honored Chancellor Emeritus Bruce W. Bergland in June with a reception at the Savannah Center and the unveiling of "Tapestry," a cast bronze sculpture created by Professor of Fine Arts Neil Goodman to reflect Bergland's commitment to arts and culture at IU Northwest.
"Tapestry," which is composed of a series of interlocking and linked components, will hang permanently opposite the Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium, named by the IU Board of Trustees last year.
While admiring the collection of sculptures and artistic landscaping just outside the tall windows, guests remarked appreciatively on the aesthetic transformation that Bergland oversaw at IU Northwest during his tenure, from 1999 through 2010. That metamorphosis is represented most strikingly by the Shadows & Echoes Sculpture Garden.
In his opening remarks, IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe spoke of the "transformative impact" that his predecessor had made on the campus during his 11 years at IU Northwest.
"Dr. Bergland envisioned IU Northwest as a campus dedicated to artistic enterprise and cultural discovery that combines academic and faculty resources with the broader mission to encourage and support artistic endeavor," Lowe said. "Bruce Bergland's name on our auditorium is a durable reminder to us all about the successful realization of the academic and artistic vision that he brought to IU Northwest."
"As a symbol for Bruce's career at IU Northwest, one thing that has always struck me about his administration is how he enjoyed reaching out to students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community," Goodman said. "He created partnerships and collaborations that linked the university to the broader environment. He felt that the mission of an urban campus was to form a vital connection between its many constituents. A sculpture that is based on a series of interrelated and linked forms, a 'tapestry' of shapes, is both a metaphor and an object -- hence the title of the sculpture."
Goodman invited attendees to touch and interact with the sculpture. Its movable pieces serve as symbols representative of the lives of Bergland and his wife, Cynthia Owen-Bergland, whose regionally inspired landscaping complements Goodman's Shadows & Echoes sculptures. A football helmet, a tree root and military shields are among the shapes that comprise the 13-foot by 9-foot artwork.
A clearly humbled Bergland described his interest in the arts as being "not very sophisticated or knowledgeable." In fact, he admitted that he had no real familiarity with the arts until he became involved with ballroom dancing and began to appreciate the colorful costumes, beautiful music and enriching experience of watching others dance. That, Bergland said, was what prompted him to beautify the IU Northwest campus through artistic projects such as the sculpture garden.
"Those initiatives were ways to begin to make this campus a place that was more pleasant, more aesthetically pleasing for our students and our faculty and our staff," Bergland said. "Students would come and go so quickly in a day, we wanted it to be a place where people could feel like, 'Maybe I will stay there because it's attractive. It feels good to be there.' "
IU President Michael A. McRobbie praised Bergland's tenure and achievements in a letter read by Lowe at the event.
"Through his inspiring engagement, he contributed to countless degree completions, research advancements and scholarship initiatives," McRobbie's letter stated. "The beautification of the Northwest campus, along with the notable achievements of its students and faculty in recent years, has made a positive and significant impact on the Northwest Indiana community, specifically the City of Gary, as well as the State of Indiana."