You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

New memorial planned to mark 50th anniversary of UT Tower shooting


University of Texas students who were on campus on Aug. 1, 1966, have long lamented that no significant memorial marked the day innocent lives were lost or forever changed by a rampaging Charles Whitman. With the 50th anniversary of the mass shooting this year, a group of students who were on campus for the carnage intend to change that.

The group has been working with Cook-Walden Funeral Homes and Cemeteries, along with the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, on a memorial to be dedicated Aug. 1. It will replace a small plaque installed in 1999 at the Tower Garden, the area known as the “Turtle Pond,” said Jim Bryce, a UT student who was there that day and is co-chairman of the memorial committee. The group has been working on the project for about three years, he said, but it gained momentum in the past year.

“Most of us involved in this have been very upset” by the lack of a significant memorial, Bryce, a 74-year-old Austin lawyer, said Thursday evening. “It seems pretty clear the university was avoiding the issue.”

UT officials support the group and will hold a ceremony Aug. 1 to mark the UT Tower shooting and dedicate the new memorial, said Erica Saenz, associate vice president for community and external relations.

“This is an important anniversary, and the administration wants to do something for this anniversary,” Saenz said. “Typically, it’s something the university hasn’t drawn attention to.”

This year’s anniversary falls on the same day a controversial Texas law takes effect allowing guns to be carried into college campus buildings.

In all, Whitman killed 16 that day — including his wife and mother whom he stabbed — and wounded more than 30 others. The names of the dead will be etched on a 6-foot-tall granite boulder that will be placed at the Tower Garden. A matching bench will be installed and a tree will be planted, Saenz said.

She added that the message on the current plaque memorializing the victims will be included in some way.

The project — the cost of which has yet to be determined — will be financed with university money and private donations, including from Cook-Walden, whose president, Rodney Molitor, has also been providing expertise, Bryce said. Molitor has heard stories of how Cook-Walden drove the wounded to the hospital that day and picked up bodies of the slain, Bryce said.

The ceremony will include UT President Gregory L. Fenves and other invited dignitaries, including Austin’s U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, whom Bryce said is interested in the memorial.

Bryce said his co-chair, Claire Wilson James, who lost her boyfriend and fetus in the shooting, has been a longtime advocate for a memorial. She testified before the Legislature against the campus carry law and has spent some shooting anniversaries at UT, Bryce said.

Bryce and James spoke with other survivors and witnesses about creating a new memorial.

“We said, ‘We’re going to push on this, whatever it takes, we’re going to make it happen,’” Bryce said. “We said this has to be done for the 50th.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Parents, special needs children left floundering after Medicaid cuts
Parents, special needs children left floundering after Medicaid cuts

Stacey English has modest desires for her 7-year-old daughter Addison: Be able to eat without gagging and move both her arms. But since Addison’s occupational therapist went out of business this winter, the child with a rare genetic disorder has regressed in her fight to do even that much. “I don’t know where to go from here,&rdquo...
Looking for a two-bedroom apartment here? You need to make $23 an hour
Looking for a two-bedroom apartment here? You need to make $23 an hour

Renters must earn at least $22.98 an hour — more than three times the minimum wage — to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment in the Austin area, a recent report reveals. The report, released this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, studied the wages needed to afford rental housing throughout the country and uncovered broad...
Hutto files 2 lawsuits after refusing to release city manager records
Hutto files 2 lawsuits after refusing to release city manager records

The city of Hutto is suing the Texas attorney general over the state’s ruling that the town has to release some documents concerning its city manager, Odis Jones. The records were requested by or related to one of three fired female city employees who made discrimination allegations against Jones in March, said the city’s attorney, Michael...
Same tolls, new operators for southern stretch of Texas 130 tollway
Same tolls, new operators for southern stretch of Texas 130 tollway

After more than a year in bankruptcy, the company operating the southern end of the Texas 130 tollway emerged Wednesday under new ownership and new management, shedding about $1.4 billion in debt in what its leadership said makes the nation’s fastest highway more stable. Toll rates won’t be affected. The 41-mile stretch of Texas 130 from...
STONEWALL RALLY: Over 200 celebrate, stand up for LGBT rights in front of Capitol
STONEWALL RALLY: Over 200 celebrate, stand up for LGBT rights in front of Capitol

10 p.m. update: More than 200 people gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to speak up for LGBT rights during the annual Stonewall Celebration and Rally on Wednesday evening.  The event had a series of guest speakers including Miss Austin Pride Nadine Hughes and event organizer Paul Huddleston, who called on the LGBT community and its...
More Stories