Committee looks at ideas for memorial to Carnahan

Members of the MU community are looking at options for establishing a permanent memorial to honor former Gov. Mel Carnahan.

Chancellor Richard Wallace appointed a committee to look at the options for a Carnahan memorial.

"There were numerous ideas put on the table," University Affairs Director Chris Koukola said. "We're just trying to find the most appropriate way to honor him."

Karina Gilpin, vice president of the Student Foundation Board, is a student on the committee looking at the options for a memorial.

"I thought it was a very excellent idea from the start and was thrilled when I found out that they wanted to know what students thought," Gilpin said.

Among the suggestions presented to the committee was a resolution passed by the Missouri Students Association Senate suggesting the South Quadrangle be named the Carnahan Quadrangle.

"Our goal was to try to recognize the enormous impact Governor Carnahan had on MU," Senate Speaker Lauren Palmer said. "We thought this was the best way to honor him for everything he did throughout his life."

The Senate said renaming the south quadrangle is an appropriate memorial for two reasons: The south quadrangle is located between the School of Law, Reynolds Alumni Center and Cornell Hall. Carnahan graduated from the School of Law, was one of MU's most distinguished alumni and was instrumental in getting Cornell Hall off the ground. Also, the south quadrangle is one of the only substantial pieces of greenspace left on campus, Palmer said in a letter to Wallace.

Another option the committee looked at was a proposal from state Rep. Ted Farnen, D-Mexico, suggesting the proposed Life Sciences Center be named after Carnahan.

"It was the general consensus that there should be some sort of physical memorial on the campus ... something that people can touch and feel, like a statue or a bust," Koukola said.

Koukola said the committee will continue to explore new options for the memorial. She said the planning is still in the early stages and that there are no definite answers yet.

The committee is taking touchy political issues into consideration while planning for the memorial.

"You always have to consider the pros and cons of something," Gilpin said.

Koukola said after she talks with the chancellor about the committee's first meeting, they will meet again to further discuss the issue.

"No decision has been made, and I don't think there is any rush to do so, either," MU Director of Governmental Affairs Marty Oetting said.

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