A singular art piece for a singular OHSU leader
September 6, 2017
An OHSU leader whose legacy endures in the hearts of all who knew him is now permanently memorialized in a singular, six-foot-tall form of stainless steel on the Marquam Hill Campus. Just days after the one-year anniversary of his untimely death, OHSU leaders and community members gathered to dedicate a sculpture by Northwest artist Bruce West in the OHSU research courtyard to Dean Emeritus Mark A. Richardson (1949-2016).
OHSU President Joe Robertson, School of Medicine Dean Sharon Anderson and Art Committee member Ellen McClure spoke during a commemoration ceremony held with members of the Richardson family, friends and colleagues Sept. 6. The art piece was donated to OHSU by West around the time of Dean Emeritus Richardson's accident in August 2016.
"One of the joys for me amid the tears and sadness of Mark's passing was hearing all of the personal stories about him," said President Robertson. "It's been my unique privilege to get to know him all over again through the eyes of others."
The location of the sculpture – directly visible from the Dean's office on the fourth floor of Mackenzie Hall – is significant. As Dean Anderson shared in her remarks, Dean Emeritus Richardson enjoyed the sounds of campus life that drifted up from the courtyard to his open office window on warm days. President Robertson noted that "future deans will look down on the sculpture and be inspired by Mark's memory, as we all are."
Placed centrally in the recently-remodeled OHSU research courtyard, the art stands in a well-trafficked area adjacent to Richard Jones Hall, the Vollum Institute, the new Center for Radiochemistry Research, Mackenzie Hall (one of the oldest buildings on the Marquam Hill Campus) and its café. It's the venue for many joyous and boisterous campus events. Elegant and eminently solid, the sculpture is a touch of permanence in the ever-changing landscape of scientific discovery, health care innovation and health professions training.
"It is fitting that this memorial stands amid a space where scientists, clinicians, students and staff across missions gather – to have lunch and decompress a little but also to brainstorm, mentor and sort out challenges," said Dean Anderson, who spoke about being appointed as one of three women department chairs during Dean Emeritus Richardson's 10-year tenure. "Mark was keenly interested in the insights and perspectives of his chairs. He was a collaborator and a relationship builder. And he was deeply passionate about all of our missions."
Ellen McClure, former chair and long-time member of the OHSU Art Committee, told the story of how the sculpture came to its new home. West made a donation to OHSU in 2016 from his private art collection of 30 pieces of sculpture – joining other pieces already installed throughout the campus. The Art Committee, a subcommittee of the Marquam Hill Steering Committee, showed it to President Robertson and suggested that one piece in particular seemed suitable for a memorial to Dean Emeritus Richardson.
"The sculpture is in this courtyard, in view of the Dean's office, and where people gather to talk, eat, play music. It's right in the thick of things. We think Dr. Richardson would like it that way," said McClure.
The Richardson family compiled a quote that will be placed on the art piece in the coming days.
The Mark A. Richardson Deanship Endowment was established to help advance the highest priorities for the School of Medicine's future. Contributions can be made online via the OHSU Foundation.
Pictured (from top): OHSU President Joe Robertson, Ellen Richardson and School of Medicine Dean Sharon Anderson with the new Bruce West sculpture dedicated to Dean Emeritus Mark A. Richardson.
Attendees, including the artist Bruce West (far right, seated) gather around the sculpture in the OHSU research courtyard.