Former U.N. chief, Macalester grad Kofi Annan honored with statueby Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio
Kofi Annan made an appearance at Macalester College in St. Paul today. The former United Nations Secretary General, who graduated from Macalester in 1961, was honored with the unveiling of a life-sized bronze bust.
St. Paul, Minn. — The bust was unveiled in front of a few dozen people at Macalester College's new Institute for Global Citizenship. Among the crowd were Macalester students and college donors, as well as former Vice President Walter Mondale.
The bust of Annan stands in the corner of the new building, which will house international studies programs beginning this fall.
Annan told the crowd he was less than enthusiastic when the idea of a bust in his likeness was proposed.
"In fact I said 'What do you mean a bust? You make busts of only dead people,'" Annan said. "But a friend of ours said 'No, no, no. It's an artistic contribution. Even if you don't feel like it, let the artist do it.'"
Annan said he was pleased with how the bust turned out. He also said he's pleased it's part of a department at Macalester that will train future leaders.
The bust is the work of sculptor Elizabeth Jones, who served as the chief sculptor and engraver at the United States Mint in Philadelphia from 1981 to 1990.
Jones said that's the way Annan appeared to her when she started her work in 2004, shortly after the Iraq war began.
"One woman who saw it, when it was finished she said 'He looks so serious. He's so much fun at parties, and so affable,'" Jones said. "And I said 'Well, he has the whole worries of the world on his shoulders being the head of the United Nations.' Frankly this is not a society portrait, this is how I see him today, serious, because he had so much to contend with'."
The bust was completed in 2005 and was given to Macalester by group called the United Nations Association of the USA.
Kofi Annan graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics from Macalester in 1961.
- All Things Considered, 05/20/2009, 4:49 p.m.