The Student Government of the University of Dallas, under the direction of Luke Posegate, senior economics major and president of SG, has established the Commission for the Construction of a Memorial for Victims of Abortion.
The commission will consist of Giovanni Del Piero, senior politics major and chair of the commission, Francesca Keating, junior philosophy major and senator, Peter Key, junior economics major and SG treasurer, Xavier Piper, freshman business major and senator, Benjamin Gibbs, assistant vice president for operations, and Dr. Matthew Walz, professor of philosophy.
“As a faithfully Catholic university and one that adamantly supports the pro-life cause, I think it’s important that we have a physical manifestation of that on our campus,” said Posegate. “It’s what a lot of our peer schools who have similar pro-life sentiments have done, and we really want when people come on campus to know that this is a place that supports life.”
Keating said, “I think as a Catholic institution, it’s really important for us to monumentalize the things that we hold most dear. Supporting life from conception until natural death is something that we try to practice and something that we should celebrate in imagery as well as in our conversation.”
In the summer of 2022, Del Piero pitched the idea of a pro-life memorial to Posegate.
“[Del Piero] had seen Notre Dame University’s pro-life statue,” said Posegate. “He knew of a couple other of our peer universities who had similar pro-life memorials.”
Last year, SG began the project by allocating $2,400 toward a fund within the university to be used for the construction of a pro-life statue.
As of now, there is no definite location for where the memorial will be constructed.
“A location has not been selected and will depend on a variety of factors, including student input, completion of some campus space planning and the hope that the memorial will be constructed in an area that promotes connection with our community,” said Gibbs. “Other campus memorials are located on major pedestrian thoroughfares near academic or residential buildings, and this memorial could be placed in a similarly central location.”
A specific design for the statue has yet to be determined, but ideas have been floated. Possibilities include the Holy Family and several versions of Our Lady.
“We’re waiting for the campus master plan to come out before we can have a definite location and have a definite design and a definite budget,” said Posegate.
The hope is for construction to begin within the next year. The full cost of the construction of the memorial is expected to be $10,000 to $20,000. The focus of the committee will be making decisions on design, price point and location, as well as kickstarting the fundraising effort.
“We’re very hopeful that the UD community will be able to support this project,” said Posegate.
Part of the intention behind constructing this memorial is a recognition that the fight for life is far from over.
Piper said, “I think college is some of the most formative years when it comes to the faith and as well as the professional life. So, with the $10,000 to $20,000 budget, I see it as completely reasonable to have something that can help people as they continue on into the professional world and remind them that they need to fight for the unborn, which is arguably one of the biggest battles right now we face as Catholics in America.”
The press release concerning the commission quotes St. John Paul II: “If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life from conception until natural death!”
The commission places special importance on constructing a pro-life memorial on a Catholic campus, with the hope of increasing the faith life of the university.
“Just because you’re Catholic doesn’t mean that you don’t need Catholic imagery,” said Keating. “In fact, it’s the opposite – to have ideas and faith and beliefs represented in images only enhances our faith. And [remembering the victims of abortion] is a really important idea that needs to be put into imagery here.”
As the commission sees it, the construction of such a memorial can only result in good, both for the university and the Catholic community as a whole.
“I think as Catholics, one of the most important parts of our faith is that we do believe that there’s a tradition rooted in tangible reality and time,” said Keating. “We give weight, we give significance, and we give value to beauty, and we understand that it lifts our souls towards truth. To have a physical statue in a very tangible place has physical effects, and it also has ideological effects and psychological effects. It brings people together. That’s what statues do. I think you can see that in the statues that we already have on campus. The places of union and community are beautiful places.”