(DES MOINES) – Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds today highlighted the work progress of the seven-foot statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug being created by artist, Benjamin Victor, and announced the funding for the statue which will eventually be displayed in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
The Des Moines Register reported that $220,000 has been donated by DuPont Pioneer and an anonymous donor to cover the entire bill for commissioning the statue.
“Today, March 25th, would have been Dr. Borlaug’s 99th birthday and his development of miracle wheat saved an estimated billion people around the world from hunger and starvation,” Gov. Branstad said. “With the generous support of DuPont Pioneer and an anonymous individual, his statue will stand in honor representing Iowa in the U.S. Capitol building.”
“With the creation of the Dr. Borlaug statue, we are seeing history in the making,” Lt. Gov. Reynolds said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I would like to thank the artist, Benjamin Victor, for sharing his tremendous talent with us to be enjoyed by the future visitors to the U.S. Capitol.”
“Dr. Borlaug was not only one of Iowa’s great innovators, but also one of the state’s greatest humanitarians,” said Paul E. Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer. “It is my hope that the statue’s placement in the U.S. Capitol will inspire future generations to be a part of solving this extraordinary challenge of feeding the world.”
The Borlaug Statue Committee Chairman, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, praised members of the Iowa legislature and Iowa’s Congressional Delegation, of which Congressman Steve King and Congressman Tom Latham were in attendance, for their bi-partisan support of the Dr. Borlaug statue, noting they have been instrumental in facilitating communications with the Architect of the Capitol’s office, which oversees the statues on display in the U.S. Capitol.
The Borlaug Statue Committee, who selected the artist and organized fundraising efforts for this project, has the goal of installing the statue of Dr. Borlaug in the U.S. Capitol building on March 25, 2014, the centennial observance of Dr. Borlaug’s birth. It will be one of two statues depicting notable citizens from Iowa. The Dr. Borlaug statue will replace the statue of U.S. Senator James Harlan, which will be returned to Iowa. The second statue representing Iowa is of Governor Samuel Kirkwood.
Benjamin Victor is currently conducting an artist-in-residency at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. The public is invited to visit with Victor as he works on the sculpture 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m. through Thursday.