Art@ThomasMore - The Madonna Statue

Art@ThomasMore – The Madonna Statue

Seth Sherman: Hello, my name is Seth Sherman and I am a presidential ambassador at Thomas More University and a member of the Art at Thomas More initiative. The initiative was made to shed light on the countless artifacts and artworks at Thomas More University.

Today we are here with the Madonna statue which is located in the grotto right next to Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel. The Madonna statue was located on the Covington campus in the garden right next to the Administration Building on Twelfth Street. The statue was donated to us in 1954 by Villa Madonna students and was used for daily rosaries, countless graduation photos, and May crownings. Today the statue is a reminder of our Catholic intellectual tradition and our devotion to the Virgin Mother of Jesus.

Sr. Evelynn Reinke, S.N.D., ’62, professor emeritus: In the old school downtown, to the right of the main entrance, there was a walled garden. From the outside, you wouldn’t notice it and the statue was in there. So, we move out to the current campus, they brought the statue out from in Covington and I had an office that had two almost picture-window sized windows and I could see that statue.

They had a little shrine, that was just flagstones. Then at some point, somebody said we ought to do more with that statue. I think it was one of the Zalla boys, who was a student, and he just sort of sketched something out and that’s what they used for the design of the present shrine.

Dr. Mark Zalla ’84: At the time, I worked for a year for Dr. Coffey (president of Thomas More) between college and medical school just sort of as an assistant. He was new to the campus and I had been involved in student government so I was familiar with the students and staff and what not.

He was interested in some sort of structure, if you will, to sort of set it off a little bit, that would kind of blend with the rest of the campus design. He asked me if I would be interested in trying to help put together something to house it. The sloped top seemed to kind of fit with the angles of the rest of the roof and we wanted it to be open so it would be visible from the sides. I just sort of came up with the design and I don’t actually know who did the construction for it.

If you have any information or a story about any of the art located at Thomas More University, please contact Judy Crist at or call 859-344-3443.