Sculpting for Peoria

By Jacqueline Koch Kelly ’07 / Photography by Duane Zehr

Fisher Stolz

A piece of limestone is supported by three steel arcs and a triangular base and is encircled at the top by a steel sphere. The arcs represent the work that goes into innovating, planning, and coordinating an event at the Peoria Civic Center. Sculptor Fisher Stolz explains that the limestone represents the perspectives that form a cohesive idea, while the sphere represents the culmination of the event.

Fisher Stolz’s sculptures reside in Chicago, Indiana, New Jersey, and Georgia. But the Bradley associate professor of art has few pieces in the Peoria area, save for a couple in private collections.

That’s changing quickly for Stolz, who calls Peoria his hometown, even though he was born in Georgia and moved often while his father was in the military.

“I’ve never lived in one place as long as I’ve lived in Peoria,” says Stolz, who came to Peoria 17 years ago to teach at Bradley. “But I’ve built a home here, and so I guess I consider this my hometown now.”

When Stolz received the opportunity to produce two sculptures for buildings in the Peoria area, he seized it. “The opportunity to be able to do a piece for my hometown was something that seemed very exciting to me,” says Stolz, who holds an MFA from the University of Georgia.

A grant through the Community Foundation of Central Illinois enabled Stolz to create a piece for the Peoria Civic Center. Event is a 9-foot-tall limestone sculpture that represents the activities taking place at the Civic Center, as well as the hard work and creativity behind each event.

When brainstorming ideas, Stolz first considered all the words that represented Peoria. Some of those terms included progress, history, and regionalism. He then explored how the Civic Center shapes Peoria and brings in a variety of events from ballets to symphonies to wedding receptions to country music concerts.

“I thought about the strong influence that it’s had on the region,” Stolz said. “It has to do with bringing people together and sharing talents and information and knowledge and creating discussion.”

Fisher Stolz

The sculpture Imprints of Education graces the entrance to the Harrison Community Learning Center.

Stolz worked on his piece all last summer, and it was installed in the Civic Center in October. But Event wasn’t his only project. He also worked on pieces for Harrison Community Learning Center, which replaced Harrison School.

LZT Associates, which designed the new school, contacted Stolz about producing bronze relief sculptures and restoring other bronze statues. The new works needed to include hand-prints from current Harrison students and teachers. Stolz was assisted by Bradley art instructor JACI WILLIS, MFA ’09.

The final product, Imprints of Education, includes circles around each handprint, emphasizing the individuality of each student and teacher. In the background, stainless steel rods were used to create arcs that look like ripples.

“They represent the ripples of positive impact t hat the new Harrison School will have on the surrounding community,” Stolz said.

First class at Renaissance Coliseum

By Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77 / Photography by Duane Zehr

Charley Steiner

The day before commencement, Bradley Hall of Famer CHARLEY STEINER ’71 answered questions and candidly discussed myriad topics: working at WIRL 1290 in Peoria, joining then-unknown ESPN at age 39, and becoming the play-by-play radio announcer for two of baseball’s most well known teams.

Keynote speaker CHARLEY STEINER ’71 addressed mid-year graduates at the new Renaissance Coliseum on December 18, 2010. The sports broadcaster emphasized the value of hard work. “When I came to Bradley, I was just an average kid with average dreams, but I knew what I wanted to do,” said the four-time Emmy winner. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during the ceremony.

Steiner is the play-by-play radio announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers; he called New York Yankees games from 2002 to 2004. He joined ESPN in 1988 and spent 14 years there. “Usually I’m not overly sentimental, but
this changes all that,” the Centurion said shortly after arriving on campus. “Some of the most important days of my life have been in Peoria.”

Another alumnus, WILLIAM J. BENMAN ’74, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony for graduate students. An intellectual property lawyer in Los Angeles, Benman is also a philanthropist. He encouraged graduates to serve their communities. The ceremony was held at the Markin Center on December 16. Seventy-nine graduate degrees were awarded in December, and 241 undergraduates earned degrees. Visit to view photos from commencement.


December 2010 undergraduates have the distinction of being the first class to receive diplomas in the new Renaissance Coliseum.

Helmet safety campaign wins Ebeling PR-ize

After creating a successful public relations campaign about helmet safety, the PilotPR team made up of ANDREW KISTNER ’10, CHARLES WALKER ’10, ERIC BEALS ’10, and MATT KNOBLOCH ’10 won the Ebeling PR-ize last December in Dr. Ron Koperski’s Communication 480 class.

The winning campaign, “Helmet Safety Awareness in the Local Community: Your Choice,” was a collaboration among PilotPR, Grayboy Motorsports, and the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to advocate for helmet safety education programs. The semester-long project included media coverage, a helmet safety awareness event with a helmet giveaway, and support of local medical experts and donors. Each member of the team was awarded $500.

The Ebeling PR-ize has been sponsored by former McDonald’s Corp. spokesman and vice president of corporate communications CHUCK EBELING ’66 since 2004. Four groups competed for the prize last semester.