If you didn’t know that the sculpture on the side of York Hall meant anything, join the club. I was clueless about “the Whole Person” until my super-awesome academic advisor, Michael, gave me a sheet explaining the whole thing (see below).
As I was researching the name of the artist, I came across this article from an edition of Pro-Tem printed in 1965. Given the academic emphasis of the sculpture, the author wrote, and I’m paraphrasing, “being a whole person requires more than studying!” I completely agree.
This raises the question: what is wholeness?
The Whole Person: a legend of symbols
- History and Chemistry: an hour glass and a beaker
- World Below Ground: agriculture, archeology, mining.
- Philosophy and Psychology: a maze.
- Nations and Civilization: the tree of life and knowledge.
- Biology and Genetics: genetic symbols interwoven in a cockerel.
- Zoology: evolution (a fish).
- Languages: the vowels.
- Political Science and Sociology: an eye inside a representation of the world.
- Life Above Ground: a tree.
- Construction and Logic: a tension-compression symbol.
- Lines of Logic leading from the tension-compression symbol to the Whole Person’s mind.
- The Cerebrum of the Whole Person: showing three symbols; (a) mathematics (analysis and synthesis), (b) perception, (c) retention.
- The Whole Person holds up the Lamp of Learning: a dove-like symbol emphasizing that the only hope for peace is through education.
- A Globe to Represent the World: the flags of the nations face in all directions.
- The Geometrical Shape Encircling the Upper Portion of the Whole Person: represents the universe and the curvatures of space and the theory of relativity.
- The Brass Rods: as well as indicating the important effects of the educational symbols upon the Whole Person, they are said by the artist to symbolize the “music of the spheres” as they sing in the wind.
Regardless of the literal meaning of this statue, I think the general sentiment of “wholeness” expressed by the name of “the Whole Person” is a beautiful reminder. As human beings, we are more than our minds. We have feeling hearts, souls, and bodies. Life is so rich!
What do you think makes a “whole person?” How do we work towards achieving wholeness in an academic setting?