American University Unveils Gandhi Statue

October 3, 2008 excerpt from a Rocktown Weekley article:

On Thursday morning, the Duke Dog, "Jimmy," "Big Jim" and Joan of Arc were joined by the university's new member of the big bronze statue club - Mahatma Gandhi.

The $70,000 statue stands 8 feet off the ground and was a gift from the Indian government to James Madison University in honor of the school's efforts in supporting the Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence.

The 80-inch-tall bronze figure was shipped from Kolkata, India, to the East Campus Library at a cost of about $30,000. Once at JMU, the university paid for a 16-inch-tall pedestal, covered with famous Gandhi quotes and crafted by Charlottesville artist Neal Gropen, at a cost of about $20,000.

For some, the gift was a dream come true.

"This day is a fulfillment of a dream," said Sushil Mattal, JMU associate professor and director of the Gandhi Center. "This statue represents a universal dream, the vision of peace and nonviolence for all humankind."

Thursday's welcoming crew - which included JMU and Gandhi Center officials and Ronen Sen, India's ambassador to the United States - rolled out the red carpet for the statue with music, ceremonial oil lamps, rose petals and speeches about peace.