Late professor Horace Mann receives statue dedication at SUNY Buffalo State

Benjamin Joe, Reporter

SUNY Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner hosted a gathering on Oct. 20 for those inspired by the late Horace Mann, a former professor of exceptional education.

President Conway-Turner, despite not knowing the dedicatee, felt the event was more inspiring than sad. Describing the scene outside the Donald Savage Theater Building, she noted the amount of former students that came to be a part of it.

“It was totally full with people standing outside, so it was overly full, there were people from decades back,” Conway-Turner said. “I met two alums who had Professor Mann 45 years ago and who came back for the dedication.”

Colleague of the exceptional education program and close friend, Bruce Baum, said on the phone that the ceremony and the statue captured the humanness of Mann, something that was very hard to do. Baum remarked that not only did Mann leave something of a legacy for Buffalo State through his own donations, he left a mark that reflected his humor and compassion.

“His best decision was hiring me back in 1972,” Baum joked.

According to what the President has heard, Mann was very generous, with quite a sense of humor, and was student-centered. She feels that holding such events is a clear benefit of her position, and gives her a chance to honor people that have been connected to the community.

“I think we do quite a bit, so I look forward to the next opportunity,” Conway-Turner said. “We’ve actually done a lot of that this semester. We started the year with a celebration to honor some people who had supported art conservation, so we brought back the former president, and the former chancellor and some others who have really brought the art conservation here, and thankfully they’re still with us.”

The sculpture itself is that of a tree-like structure with beams supporting one another. The sculptor, Kevin Eichner, a former student of Dr. Mann, mentioned to Laurie Kaiser of Buffalo State’s news and event page that the highest beam is a representation of Mann and symbolically shows how much of a pillar he was. He was someone to whom one felt they could count on.

“One of the things I said in my remarks was that when you have someone in your memory, you never really lose them,” Conway-Turner said. “And out there in front of me were just all these people who had known Hank over many, many years. A couple of people came up and said they were really good friends of him; colleagues, students. And so, there’s just so many wonderful memories and great stories that you know he’s not really gone. He’s still very much a part of the Buffalo State community.”

Bruce Baum agrees.

“It was an honor to know him,” he said.

The sculpture dedicated to Professor Mann is located behind the Donald Savage Theater Building.


email: [email protected]