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Feb. 2, 2012 Volume 33, No. 18

Alumnus donates replica of King D.C. statue

MLK Statue

MU GIFT The “Stone of Hope” replica was given to Ty Christian by Lei Yixin, who created the original King monument. Rachel Coward photo


Miniature replica is called “Stone of Hope”

The chief marketing strategist for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., donated to MU last week a miniature of the memorial.

“I never met King personally, but his work and legacy have opened doors for me,” Ty Christian, BA ’77, said at the Jan. 25 presentation held at the Missouri Theatre. “His dream has been the biggest, most humble, most honored experience of my entire life.”

The 18-inch bronze “Stone of Hope” replica was given to Christian by Lei Yixin, who sculpted the original, for Christian’s efforts in helping collect $120 million in donations for the National Memorial Project Foundation to raise awareness about the King memorial.

Christian decided to donate the statue, which is to scale of the Washington monument, to MU, which will house it in various university buildings for the time being.

Since graduating from MU, Christian has worked in the media and communication field, including at CNN in Atlanta. He went on to found the marketing firm TRC Consulting Group.

“The university has given me one of the greatest gifts one can receive,” Christian said. “And that gift is opportunity.”

During the presentation, several television commercials created by Christian’s group about the dedication of the monument in Washington, D.C., were shown. One featured a black girl, wearing a pink shirt emblazoned with the words “First Female President,” gazing at a portrait of King.

Christian said he was inspired to succeed by his grandmother, who never joined the civil rights protests, but nevertheless endured the tribulations of a society entrenched in racism.

“She felt and dealt with the humiliation and disrespect of racism,” Christian said. “And like Dr. King, she used self-confidence and respect for one’s self as a primary tool to overcome the challenge.

“She was consumed with the fact that she was equal to everyone,” he said. “Not better. Not worse. Equal.”

Also speaking at the event was comic Larry Wilmore, best known for his appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Wilmore mixed comedy and social commentary in his talk.

— Trevor Eischen