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Bringing a Homecoming Tradition to Life

Posted on October 30th, 2014
Old Capitol looks on as a team of students and faculty work to raise the 2014 corn monument — with the help of a crane.

Old Capitol looks on as a team of students and faculty work to raise the 2014 corn monument — with the help of a crane.

IIHR students and faculty have helped revive a decades-old University of Iowa Homecoming tradition — the corn monument. Erected yesterday on the Pentacrest just west of Old Capitol, the 2014 edition is a replica of the very first corn monument in 1919.

IIHR student Stephanie Then is president of the UI student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The Campus Activities Board contacted the group in July to see if the students were interested in reviving the tradition, which was last seen on campus in the early 1980s.

“It was something we absolutely wanted to do,” Then says. The team, which included ASCE Vice President and IIHR student Michelle Riedinger and others, came up with the design. They sawed 1,100 ears of corn in half and used construction glue to attach them to the structure. At least 100 hours of work went into the monument. They also built a mini-monument that will appear in the Homecoming Parade on Friday.

Then says that IIHR Research Engineers Bill Eichinger and Allen Bradley, ASCE’s faculty advisors, provided invaluable help. “Bill’s done a lot with the design and construction,” she says. “He’s been here for every workday we’ve had.” Bradley helped too, especially with UI Risk Management. She’s also grateful for the support from IIHR. The team built the monument in IIHR’s East Annex, using tools and other supplies provided by the IIHR shop.

Then says the corn monument project gave students a chance to try out their engineering skills. “It’s a great opportunity to put everything you learned in the classroom and all of your ideas to work,” she says. “You’re doing civil engineering. You’re bringing everything to life.”

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