In the early 1980s, Barbara Uehling pushed for MU’s first master plan for campus beautification.
The former chancellor reigned during $135 million in projects that gave the university its good looks.
Now MU administration, led by Chancellor Richard Wallace, has decided to honor Uehling’s efforts to improve the campus’ image and functionality by dedicating a stone monument with a bronze plaque to her.
The unveiling ceremony will be at 2 p.m. Friday on the Ninth Street lookout west of Lowry Mall. Uehling will be flying in from Australia for the ceremony, and Wallace also will attend.
“Ideally, it would have been nice if it would have been in the summer, when the flowers bloomed and she could see for herself how her vision had brought forth the beauty of the campus,” said Gail Lawrence, chairwoman of the Staff Advisory Council, established by Uehling in 1978.
The event grew out of Wallace’s wish to honor Uehling and her vision, said Chris Koukola, assistant to the chancellor for university affairs. The monument cost $26,000 and was funded through private donations.
Uehling’s campaign for campus beautification led to making Lowry Mall a pedestrian area, extending the pedestrian campus, creating more green spaces, improving parking structures and renovating or improving several structures on campus. In 1978, Uehling became the first woman to lead a national land-grant university.
She retired in 1986, ending a time of turmoil as chancellor during which she found herself at odds with faculty, students and alumni. Lawrence said the ceremony will strictly honor her vision and not try to mend past conflicts.
“We’re looking at how her vision has taken place,” Lawrence said. “Often visionary people ruffle feathers.”