A large gathering in the Utah State University Taggart Student Center was held March 18 for the unveiling of a memorial sculpture to honor the eight students and one instructor from the College of Agriculture whose lives ended suddenly in tragic accident in fall 2005.
USU students, administrators, faculty and staff joined family and friends of those lost in the accident for a short program that was followed by the unveiling of the completed sculpture.
"While the greatest impact will always be on the families of these outstanding young men and their teacher, each of us who were in any way involved in the tragedy and its aftermath will be forever changed," said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. "Time has passed, but we still remember. And in our remembering, it is our most sincere desire that those of you who have suffered most from the loss will continue to feel our love and support."
President Albrecht told the gathered crowd that one way of assuring that the university never forgets, and one way of assuring that those who come after us are reminded of this tragic, but important chapter of the university's history, is to create a memorial to commemorate those whose lives were lost.
The sculpture composed of black granite, bronze and steel has nine panels, 3-feet-by-3-feet, representing an agricultural interest of each of the nine men who passed away. Two half-circles, above and below the panels, include the men's names. At the lower left of the installation is a bronze rubbing element that allows visitors to make a paper rubbing as a personal memento of the memorial.
The memorial commemorates the lives of Steven D. Bair, 22, Moses Lake, Wash.; Dusty Dean Fuhriman, 22, Tremonton, Utah; Justin W. Gunnell, 24, Wellsville, Utah; Justin Huggins, 22, Bear River City, Utah; Jonathan Dennis Jorgensen, 22, Peoa, Utah; Curt A. Madsen, 23, Payson, Utah; Ryan Wayne McEntire, 22, West Point, Utah; Bradley G. Wilcox, 26, Salt Lake City, Utah; and instructor Evan Parel Parker, 45, Hooper, Utah.
USU students Jared Paul Nelson, of Logan and Robert Petersen of Elwood, Utah, were the only survivors of the accident.
Monument Arts of Sandy, Utah, was commissioned to design and construct the memorial. Artist Dan Cummings created the granite elements of the memorial, while sculptor Mark DeGraffenried, a 1993 USU art graduate, sculpted the bronze portion of the design. To create the panels, DeGraffenried set up a temporary studio on the USU campus in the Chase Fine Arts Center/Fine Arts Visual sculpture area.
The memorial will find a temporary home in the Taggart Student Center's Juniper Lounge until the planned College of Agriculture research and teaching building is completed. It will then be permanently located in that building's foyer.
The memorial project received financial support from alumni and friends, the Utah Farm Bureau, USU student government, USU Student Services, departments in the College of Agriculture, the Agriculture Experiment Station and others.
The Ag Memorial Sculpture Committee was comprised of Bruce Miller, Victoria Berry, Miriam Cajal, Chuck Gay, Braden Jensen, Robbie Petersen, Tom Peterson, Gary Straquadine and Scott Wangsgard.
Contact: Noelle Cockett, Vice President for Extension and Dean of the College of Agriculture, (435) 797-2215
Writer: Maren Cartwright, (435) 797-1355, email@example.com