Friday, April 21, on Ringling College of Art and Design’s Scott Plaza, Resilience was unveiled and dedicated to Ringling’s community of veterans and military families. A strong and stoic block of white Georgian marble, the sculpture by artist Larry Kirkland was created as part of his larger Testimonies series which were originally installed at Sarasota’s Patriot Plaza. Each marble and glass tablet in the series features a window of thick glass imprinted with a photographic image. Engraved in the marble are drawings and quotes, reflecting the personal voices of those who have served, supported, and sacrificed through military life.
“Having the Resilience veterans monument on the Ringling College campus reflects the strong military/veteran community here and in the Sarasota area,” said Lisa Goss, assistant director of Ringling’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services. “It also reflects the resiliency that the Ringling College community has. Students, staff, and faculty withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events all the time. We are a remarkable community.”
The sculpture — now installed in its new home on the second floor of the Ulla Searing Student Center — made its way to Ringling College from Patriot Plaza, a 2,8000-seat ceremonial amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery. The Plaza was fully funded by The Patterson Foundation and was officially dedicated and donated on June 28, 2014. The space was designed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration and provides a space that “honors veterans, inspires patriotism, and embraces freedom.”
During the pandemic, Ringling Film students collaborated with The Patterson Foundation through the INDEX program to create and launch the Patriot Plaza Virtual Tour, 11 cinematic films produced and directed by the students bringing the civics class trip into the classroom and across the country. Watch the behind-the-scenes video highlighting the production and experience — one of the many client-driven project opportunities provided to Ringling students.
Ringling College is proud to support their military family — 20 veterans and 50 dependents of veterans are currently enrolled at the College and taking advantage of their VA education benefits. U.S. veterans and their dependents can use their GI Bill education benefits to help fund their educational goals. The College also participates in the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides additional financial assistance to veterans and dependents who qualify for 100% of Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits and have reached the VA annual tuition cap.
During the dedication ceremony, Alyssa Quidachay ’24, Visual Studies, who comes from a military family read a poem written by Karen Brayden about how dandelions are the official flower of military children. “Military children bloom everywhere the winds carry them. They are hardy and upright. Their roots are strong, cultivated deeply in the culture of the Military, planted swiftly and surely. They’re ready to fly in the breezes that take them to new adventures, new lands, and new friends,” the poem reads.
Marcus Adkins ’23, Graphic Design, and president of the Ringling College Veterans Club read out the respected poem Invictus, by William Ernest Henley.
The Military Affiliated Services department at Ringling College is committed to providing the information and services needed for students using, or looking to use, VA educational benefits. The department assists with charting the transition from military life, and helps promote the student’s knowledge of resources, self-growth, and connections. Military Affiliated Services can help students and their families in many ways, including help with applying for benefits, providing information on how VA education benefits and the college processes work together, and connecting students with college resources such as advising, counseling services, and financial aid resources.