Circle of Excellence construction could begin in July
As the dust settles along the newly redeveloped Frog Alley, work crews will begin construction on a monument honoring a variety of student achievement near the east side of the stadium as early as July.
Plans for the structure, which will take about five months to complete, have waited nine years to break ground on campus.
Designs for the Circle of Excellence combine the vision for a TCU Athletics memorial with a Greek tribute to life on campus. The only task that remains for the committee in charge is to determine exactly how to display student excellence, Don Mills, a committee member, said.
In 2003, sororities and fraternities celebrated their 50th year on campus. To commemorate the occasion, the Office of Student Life drafted the idea for a monument, said Mills, then vice President of Student Affairs.
And by 2005 the fraternities and sororities had raised $300,000 and were ready to proceed with the Circle of Excellence. Except that same year TCU started making plans to renovate the stadium.
Not wanting to spend money on a monument that would be damaged in the new stadium’s wake, the fundraisers decided to postpone construction on the Circle of Excellence, Mills said.
But the wait is over.
By the end of July the project will commence with a larger budget of about $450,000, said Harold Leeman associate director of major projects. TCU will put the $150,000 difference under the same tab as the east side stadium renovation.
The monument will recognize fraternities and sororities’ role in TCU’s history as well as their continued significance on campus, Mills, who helped lead the Circle of Excellence committee, said.
It will also be a place where TCU recognizes students that have achieved outstanding academic or artistic excellence alongside outstanding athletes, Mills said.
Ross Bailey, director of operations for athletics, said the inspiration for the Circle of Champions came from a design drafted by the athletic department in the early 2000s that was meant to honor student athletes.
Mills helped assimilate the concept of honoring students in the plans for the new monument, Bailey said. The new monument integrates the categories that separate TCU students’ athletic, artistic and intellectual achievements.
Chancellor Victor Boschini commissioned a committee of five people including Mills and Bailey, to make a decision upon how these achievements will be defined and displayed.
Led by Provost Nowell Donavan, the committee has yet to define criteria for all categories of student excellence. There are still some questions as to whether or not the Circle of Excellence should try to retrospectively honor student excellence, Donavan wrote in an email.
“But with these types of projects it’s not who you include,” Bailey said. “It’s who you don’t include that becomes an issue.”
Establishing the criteria for student athletes is considerably easier than trying to define other types of achievement, Bailey said.
“It would be nice if we could just say that anyone recognized by an outside organization should receive a place on the wall,” Mills said, “but that would give student athletes an overwhelming majority.
However, if categories, as opposed to individual names, took their place in the circle more achievements could be recognized.
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