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Posted 10.24.06


Gift To Fund Original Art for Bond Life Sciences Center

COLUMBIA, MO - A work of art meant to inspire and celebrate research has been commissioned as a centerpiece for the McQuinn Atrium of the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A private gift of more than $300,000 from Al and Mary Agnes McQuinn will make the sculpture, called the "Joy of Discovery," possible.

The piece will be designed and completed by architect and artist Kenneth F. vonRoenn, Jr., of Louisville, Ky. Plans call for a four-story-tall suspended sculpture that arches from the south to the north side of the Center's atrium. It will consist of aluminum circles suspended along a curved aluminum spine with spiraling forms of dichroic glass and discs three feet in diameter. The dichroic glass will cast and reflect light throughout the space, and the discs will contain images of current research in the Life Sciences Center on transparencies. Over time, these discs may be replaced or updated as science and technology advance.

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"Mr. vonRoenn immersed himself in understanding the mission of the Bond Life Sciences Center as an interdisciplinary research and education facility for the MU campus. The elements of the sculpture relate to the architectural features and take full advantage of the varying light conditions in the atrium, while providing a brilliant artistic interpretation of the complexity of the various research projects within. We are indebted to Al and Mary Agnes McQuinn for making this wonderful artistic enhancement to the Bond Center possible," said Michael Chippendale, interim director of the Life Sciences Center.

Mr. McQuinn graduated from MU with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture in 1954. He is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of QuinStar Investment Partners, LLC. He and Mrs. McQuinn are the parents of four children and nine grandchildren. The McQuinns, who reside in Naples, Fla., are major supporters of MU's life sciences research. The Life Sciences Center Atrium is named in honor of a more than $1 million contribution they made to support the Center. In 2004, the McQuinns gave the University a $5 million challenge gift as part of the For All We Call Mizzou campaign to establish The Fund for Academic Excellence in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

"In funding the Life Sciences art project, it was our hope and goal that it would enhance the creative environment and that the end result would be an award-winning art piece capable of drawing national attention to the University of Missouri and its new Life Sciences Center," Mr. McQuinn said.

A $25,000 portion of the original project bid was returned to the University by the artist to create an endowment to keep the sculpture current and updated. Mr. McQuinn said that this was a "very special and generous contribution from Mr. vonRoenn which indicates his very deep commitment to this exciting commission."

The "Joy of Discovery" is expected to be completed in early 2007.



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