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Hillsdale College is com­mis­sioning a statue of orator and abo­li­tionist Fred­erick Dou­glass as the next addition to the Liberty Walk. Wiki­media Commons | Col­legian

Hillsdale College’s Liberty Walk will have to wait longer than expected to receive its newest addition — abo­li­tionist and orator Fred­erick Dou­glass.
A college com­mittee selected award-winning sculptor Bruce Wolfe for the project in May 2015. Wolfe was not able to begin work as soon as expected, but he plans to start sculpting soon. Although Chief Staff Officer Mike Harner said Wolfe projects the sculpture will be com­pleted by December, weather will delay the ded­i­cation until fall 2017.
“It’s going to be very neat. There’s a lot of excitement about it,” Harner said. “I think Bruce Wolfe views this as a major work of a dis­tin­guished career.”
The sculpture’s concept design depicts a younger Dou­glass at about the height of his oratory powers when he was 43, the age he would have been two years before speaking at Hillsdale College for the first time on Jan. 21, 1863.
“We’re very proud of the college’s affil­i­ation with the great Fred­erick Dou­glass,” Pres­ident Larry Arnn said in an email. “He and the prin­ciples he stated in that speech helped to form the devotion of the college to freedom and equality.”
Wolfe and the college con­sidered a number of poses for the statue, including one rem­i­niscent of the photo taken during his trip to Hillsdale, which depicts Dou­glass sitting. They, however, decided that he would stand across from his old friend, Abraham Lincoln, at the 4 o’clock position when looking at Central Hall from the Civil War memorial.
Wolfe’s concept also depicts the 19th-century orator holding a book, an ode to his influ­ential writings.
Harner said he will not release any early sketches of the statue to the public because the design could change once Wolfe begins sculpting, and he wants the unveiling to be a sur­prise.
In con­junction with the statue, Hillsdale is also com­mem­o­rating the abolitionist’s life with the Fred­erick Dou­glass Schol­ar­ships. The college is designing this full-tuition grant specif­i­cally for high-achieving, high-need stu­dents from inner cities, espe­cially Detroit, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois, Financial Aid Director Rich Moeggenberg said.
The cri­teria cor­re­sponds with Dou­glass’ history, Arnn said.
“Fred­erick Dou­glass was himself high-need and high -achieving,” Arnn said. “We want a student body made up of the best who are willing and able without regards, as the Articles of Asso­ci­ation say, to ‘race, sex, and national origin.’ This is a way to pursue that.”
After years of raising funds, the college selected its first recipient for the 2016 – 2017 aca­demic year.
In order to pick a recipient, Senior Director of Admis­sions Zack Miller said Hillsdale received a list of stu­dents from stan­dardized tests, like the ACT, iden­ti­fying stu­dents with great financial need.
“We want folks to know Hillsdale is affordable and a great value,” Miller said. “Some­times there’s a stigma with private schools, that they’re too expensive out of the gate. That’s not the case…We want to dispel that myth. If you are a good fit for Hillsdale, we want to at least open the door for them to learn more about us.”
The Liberty Walk began in 2002 with the George Wash­ington statue. Since then, the college always planned to include a Dou­glass statue, which was announced in 2013. His statue, to be erected near Lincoln and the memorial com­mem­o­rating Hillsdale stu­dents who fought in the Civil War, will com­plete that section of the walk.