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Money can't buy you love, as the Beatles once sang, but it can help create a sculpture whose theme will be peace and international understanding.

At her inauguration Oct. 11, President Roseann Runte announced a symbolic project that result in a new sculpture for campus made with coins from around the world.

In her address, Runte asked members of the university community to contribute spare change from their travels to a large collection box in the lobby of Webb Center. Once it is filled, an artist will be commissioned to design and cast a sculpture from the melted coins.

"It will represent international understanding and remain an inspiration for us all as we endeavor to achieve this global agenda," she said.

The idea for the sculpture came about last spring when Runte was in Spain to present a paper at a conference on the role of education in peace-making, sponsored by the Santillana Foundation.

"I was having tea with Ruth Engo, the head of United Nations Aid for Africa, and we were talking about the inauguration and the fact that Old Dominion is a global institution," Runte recalled. "One thing led to another, and we came up with this idea for a sculpture made from coins around the world."

It didn't take long after her announcement last month before the coins started dropping. "Someone came up to me after the inauguration ceremony to shake hands and gave me an English coin to put in," Runte said. "I've had a lot of calls from people who said they are cleaning out their closets in search of coins for the box."

Nancy Olthoff, director of disability services, reportedly was the first university employee to make a contribution.

To date, coins from many parts of the world, including Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, Honduras, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Thailand and Spain lay scattered at the bottom of the Plexiglas box, but it may take some time before the sizable container is filled.

Runte would like the box to be full before handing the contents over to a sculptor -- "however long it takes," she said. In the meantime, employees and friends of the university who have some spare change left over from trips abroad are encouraged to make a contribution to the project.

This article was posted on: October 29, 2001

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