Memorial honors first dean of Applied Sciences and Arts

By Gus Bode

Out of the pit of mud and concrete on the south side of the College of Applied Science Arts building will rise a monument to two of the most important figures in the college’s 50-year history.

The monument will be dedicated to Earnest J. and Mary C. Simon and will stand as a reminder of the accomplishments Simon made while he was dean of what would eventually become the College of Applied Science and Arts.

Work began on the memorial in fall 2001 and is expected to be completed by Sept. 10. Terry Owens, chairman of the architectural program, said the original completion date has been pushed back twice because of the bidding process to complete the monument.


Simon was the first dean of the Division of Technical and Adult Education. The program was the first of its kind in a four-year, state-run school. The memorial is also dedicated to Simon’s wife, Mary, who has made many contributions to the college.

The design for the memorial was selected from proposals of students in the architecture program. Renee Prusacki, a senior in architecture from Du Quoin, had her design selected in 2000.

She said the memorial is to commemorate not only the Simons, but also the college’s 50th anniversary.

Her design has steps that move from the Applied Science Building and culminates in a wing that points at the SIU Arena.

I designed it to show our journey through the college and the growth of students, Prusacki said. It points at the Arena to show the final destination, which is graduation.

The memorial will be surrounded by a terrace designed by using the architectural concept of positive growth, according to Prusacki. Positive growth is the idea of showing more positive things happening in the future.

On the wing there is a line about a third of the way up, Prusacki said. That line represents the present; beyond the present there is a lot of room to grow.


Owens said the final cost of the project will be $150,000, which the College of Applied Science and Arts will pay for through selling bricks that will be used to complete the terrace. The bricks will be sold for as little as $100 to the upper range of $10,000 and will be inscribed with an individual’s name. The college will retain any extra funds it earns from selling the bricks.

This is a celebration of the individuals who started the college, Owens said. But it also gives us a chance to raise funds for an extended period of time.

Owens said the project is not a memorial in a traditional sense, because Mary Simon is still living, and her husband has passed away.

It honors their contributions to the college, Owens said.

He said students were asked to design the terrace because the college has always been student-oriented.

It only seemed appropriate to use the students to design the project, Owens said. The college has always emphasized the students, and this gave architectural students the chance to use there talents.

Reporter Mark Lambird can be reached at [email protected]