Person of Color Sculpture Competition and Selection
In 2007, a committee comprised of students, faculty, administration and staff was formed to oversee the selection of an outdoor sculpture for the Hofstra campus that reflected diversity and the accomplishments of people of color. After a national competition, the bronze sculpture Frederick Douglass Circle by artist Vinnie Bagwell was chosen. Now part of the Hofstra University Museum's collection and located in the Monroe Lecture Center Courtyard on the South Campus, it commemorates one of the most prominent figures in African American and United States history, who was a steadfast believer in the equality of all people.
A dedication ceremony for the sculpture and reception to honor artist Vinnie Bagwell was held on October 29, 2008. At the ceremony, President Stuart Rabinowitz spoke on behalf of the University and reaffirmed Hofstra's commitment to its diverse campus community by expanding the on-campus sculpture collection to include a work of art that celebrates such a prominent figure in African American and United States history. Herman A. Berliner, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Beth E. Levinthal, Director of the Hofstra University Museum; and, Sean Hutchinson, Hofstra Student and President of Hofstra University NAACP Chapter also spoke at the dedication ceremony.
According to Bagwell, "my pursuit of artistic excellence is grounded in my desire to use sculpture as a visual language that is resonant and has the power to reach out, strike the heart, and enrich the lives of others. Anchored in realism, my style is defined by portraiture, which provides insight into human character and shows a precise articulation of the human spirit. My subjects are meant to be engaged to invite memories of experiences and feelings. Each character is designed to remind viewers that artistry is a powerful, useful tool of social transformation...renewing our hopes and aspirations."