Hendrix stadium to be named after alumni veterans

Published November 11, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
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A statue of a World War I American doughboy soldier stands outside the original Young Memorial Stadium on the Hendrix College campus. The school plans to restore the statue and place it outside the new Young-Wise Stadium, which is expected to be constructed by September 2013, when Hendrix plans to bring football back to the school as a competitive sport.

— Hendrix College will honor the sacrifice of three alumni killed in the service of their country, along with fallen alumni of all armed conflicts, with the construction of Young-Wise Stadium, which should be completed by fall 2013.

The stadium will honor student-athlete Robert W. Young from Okolona, Ark. A baseball team captain and tackle on the football team, Young graduated from Hendrix in 1915 and volunteered for World War I. Lt. Young was killed fighting in the Argonne Forest in France and is the namesake of the former Young Memorial Stadium at Hendrix. Completed in 1923, the original stadium stood on the northwest corner of campus for more than 50 years.

Hendrix will bring back football next fall after a 52-year hiatus.

The new stadium also will honor Jeremy and Benjamin Wise of El Dorado. Jeremy Wise, a member of the Hendrix Class of 1998 and a former Navy SEAL, was killed in December 2009 while working for the CIA on a base in Afghanistan. His brother, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Wise, Hendrix Class of 1999 and a Green Beret, died in January from wounds received while fighting in northern Afghanistan.

“The Young-Wise Memorial Stadium will serve as a reminder of our responsibility to honor and remember the scores of alumni who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation from both world wars, and the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East and other theaters,” Hendrix College President Tim Cloyd said in a press release.

“We plan not to glorify war or the tragedy of lives taken from loved ones and from our Hendrix family, but to celebrate those lives as examples to our students of the high price that freedom can require. We plan to hold them up as exemplars of service and sacrifice, for our nation and its citizens.”

The stadium will seat approximately 1,500 and host men’s football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s track and field, intramurals, ultimate frisbee matches and other student use.

Other spaces in the complex will include a new field house that will serve more than 300 student athletes with weight rooms, locker rooms and training facilities; a new indoor tennis facility to replace the Mabee Center, and a new synthetic turf field for women’s field hockey that will also be utilized by the baseball and softball teams when they are unable to practice on their fields as a result of inclement weather, and as another option for intramural sports and ultimate frisbee competitions.

Hendrix will also refurbish the statue of a World War I American doughboy soldier, which stood at the entrance to the original Young Memorial Stadium, and will commission a new sculpture and Wall of Honor to recognize all alumni who have given their lives in service to the country. The restored statute and new memorial will be placed facing east at Young-Wise Stadium.

Hendrix plans to raise the approximately $8 million needed to fund construction of the stadium and memorial.

The memorial will bear the following inscription:

Here we honor

War’s truest witnesses

Those silenced souls

Whose bodies did to ours bequeath

This cheerful day

This sporting peace

The inscription was composed by Alex Vernon, a member of the Hendrix College Department of English since 2001. Vernon is the James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professor of English, a U.S. Army captain, a member of the U.S. Military Academy class of 1989 and a tank platoon leader in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91.