The newly-created statue of Iowa native and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug will be installed in the U.S. Capitol March 25th, on what would have been Borlaug’s 100th birthday.
Borlaug, who died in the fall of 2010, grew up in Cresco and went on to develop higher-yielding, drought-resistant varieties of wheat that are credited with saving billions of people from starvation. Each state has two statues in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall and Iowa legislators voted a few years ago to have Borlaug’s likeness will replace the statue of a Civil War-era hero from Iowa. A sculptor from South Dakota has created a statue of Borlaug at work, standing in a field of wheat, taking notes. The base of the statue is made of Iowa limestone.
An invitation-only crowd will gather for the dedication ceremony next month in Washington, D.C. and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will be among them.
The governor laid a wreath at a statue of Borlaug which stands outside India’s premier agricultural institute. The budget for the project to get Borlaug’s statue placed in the U.S. Capitol will run under 300-thousand dollars and is financed with a donation from Du Pont/Pioneer and an anonymous donor.
The seven-thousand pound statue of former Iowa Senator James Harlan that has stood in the U.S. Capitol for a century will be trucked back to Mount Pleasant. Harlan was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and his daughter married Lincoln’s son. Harlan once served as president of Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant and his statue will be placed outside the Harlan-Lincoln House museum on campus. Branstad says he “feels an affinity” for Mount Pleasant because his step-mother is from Mount Pleasant and the lieutenant governor lived there for seven years when she was a child.
The other statue from Iowa that will remain in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol is of the likeness of former Iowa Governor Samuel Kirkwood. Branstad says he, too, was a Civil War-era hero. Kirkwood was Iowa’s fifth governor, then went on to serve as a U.S. Senator before being reelected to serve as its ninth governor. Branstad is currently serving as Iowa’s 42nd governor. During his previous 16-year stint as governor, he was the state’s 39th chief executive.