GW honors Russian poet with Academic Center statue

GW will hold a dedication ceremony to celebrate the erection of a monument in honor of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin in October.

The dedication of the Pushkin statue will be held at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the corner of 22nd and H streets. After the dedication ceremony, guests can participate in a salon at Post Hall on the Mount Vernon campus at 7:30 p.m.

The dedication ceremony will be open to all members and friends of the University community as well as friends and members of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Administrative and Information Services Lynn Shipway said. The ceremony is also open to others who have supported the effort to recognize Pushkin in the United States, she said.

“The centerpiece of the evening will be a dramatic reading of a short play by Pushkin, `Mozart and Salieri,'” music department Chairman Roy Guenther said.

To many members of the University community, Pushkin has a specialsignificance, German and Slavic languages Chairman Peter Rollberg said.

“Alexander Pushkin is still viewed as Russia’s greatest poet,” he said. “He founded Russian national literature by emancipating it from its previously secondary role among European peers. He gave it elegance and beauty and crispness. Therefore, Pushkin is sometimes referred to as the founder of Russian literary language.”

Rollberg said the monument will have critical political significance.

“Erecting a monument to Pushkin in the capital of the United States is a gesture that will please Russians more than any disarmament treaty ever could,” Rollberg said.

He said the dedication of this statue also is an important step for the University.

“It will certainly add to GW’s visibility and intellectual class,” Rollberg said.

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