CONWAY, Ark. (November 11, 2012) - Hendrix College will honor the sacrifice of three alumni killed in the service of their country, along with fallen alumni of all armed conflicts, with the construction of Young-Wise Stadium.
The stadium honors student-athlete Robert W. Young from Okolona, Ark. A baseball team captain and tackle on the football team, Young graduated from Hendrix in 1915 and volunteered for World War I. Lt. Young was killed fighting in the Argonne Forest in France and is the namesake of the former Young Memorial Stadium at Hendrix. Completed in 1923, the original stadium stood on the northwest corner of campus for more than 50 years. [See attachment for historical information on Young Memorial Stadium]
The new stadium also honors Jeremy and Benjamin Wise of El Dorado, Ark. Jeremy Wise, Hendrix class of 1998 and a former Navy SEAL, was killed in December 2009 while working for the CIA on a base in Afghanistan. His brother Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Wise, Hendrix class of 1999 and a Green Beret, died in January 2012 from wounds received while fighting in northern Afghanistan.
"The Young-Wise Memorial Stadium will serve as a reminder of our responsibility to honor and remember the scores of alumni who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation from both world wars, and the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, and other theaters," said Hendrix College President Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd. "We plan not to glorify war or the tragedy of lives taken from loved ones and from our Hendrix family, but to celebrate those lives as examples to our students of the high price that freedom can require. We plan to hold them up as exemplars of service and sacrifice, for our nation and its citizens."
The stadium will seat approximately 1,500 and host men's football, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's track and field, intramurals, ultimate Frisbee and provide a venue for general student benefit. Other spaces in the complex include: (1) a new field house that will serve more than 300 student athletes with weight rooms, locker rooms and training facilities; (2) a new indoor tennis facility to replace the Mabee Center; (3) a new synthetic turf field for women's field hockey that will also be utilized by the baseball and softball teams when they are unable to practice on their fields due to inclement weather, and as another option for intramural sports and ultimate Frisbee competitions.
Hendrix will refurbish the statue of a World War I American doughboy soldier, which stood at the entrance to the original Young Memorial Stadium, will commission a new sculpture and Wall of Honor to recognize all alumni who have given their lives in service to our country. The restored statute and new memorial will be placed facing east at Young-Wise Stadium. [See attachment for historical information on the veterans' memorial]
The memorial will bear the following inscription:
Here we honor
War's truest witnesses
Those silenced souls
Whose bodies did to ours bequeath
This cheerful day
This sporting peace
These words were composed by Dr. Alex Vernon, U.S. Army Captain, U.S. Military Academy class of 1989, tank platoon leader in the Persian Gulf War 1990-91, and Hendrix College Department of English faculty member since 2001. Vernon is the James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professor of English.
Hendrix plans to seek the support of alumni and friends of the College to raise the approximately $8 million needed to fund construction of the stadium and memorial. The project will be completed by September 2013, when Hendrix will resume its men's football program as a member of the NCAA Division III non-scholarship Southern Athletic Association.
About Young Memorial Stadium
- Hendrix alumni launched a statewide fundraising campaign to build the stadium
- City of Conway leaders Jo Frauenthal and Theodore Smith supported the drive to the extent that Hendrix officials offered Conway High School the use of the new stadium.
- The stadium was designed by Martin Roberts of Nashville, Tenn., who designed the Vanderbilt University athletic field.
- The new concrete stadium mirrored the classic lines of an ancient Greek arena.
- Completed in 1923, the new 5,000-seat stadium cost more than $75,000.
- Arkansas Gov. Thomas C. McCrae ordered all state capitol offices to close early to enable officials - including Hendrix supporters in Little Rock who chartered a special train - to be in Conway for the dedication. Gov. McRae, U.S. Sen. Thaddeus H. Caraway, Major General George B. Duncan, and Lt. Col. E.C. Robertson of the American Legion spoke. They created "considerable excitement by being equipped with a microphone attachment for the amplification of sound."
- Young Memorial Stadium hosted the state's official Armistice Day celebration in 1924.
- The stadium hosted numerous state high school track meets, including the first nighttime track meet in Arkansas
Hendrix Veterans' Memorial
- In fall 1919, Hendrix faculty and students formed the Hendrix Memorial Association to raise funds for an on-campus monument to commemorate the school's war dead.
- Hendrix senior James F. Wahl of Ozark and professor W.O. Wilson led the successful drive.
- In November 1920, the association and the Hendrix Ex-Service Men's Club presented the monument to the College.
- The sculpture of an American doughboy soldier in full marching equipment was part of a memorial that also included a semicircular bench with a high-carved marble back.
- The memorial bore the names of honored alumni: Tabor Bevins of Booneville, James Craddock of England, James Dowdy of Clarksville, William A. McGuire of Mountain Home, Joseph W. Reynolds of El Dorado, and Robert W. Young of Okolona.
*From James Lester's Hendrix College: A Centennial History (1984)
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country's "Up and Coming" liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.