Mechanical engineering senior Rachel Deeds and TU President Gerard Clancy unveiled the Sights and Sounds sculpture between McFarlin Library and Kendall Hall in August. In 2018, the University Innovation Fellowship program suggested the idea for a sculpture that would represent the collaboration and connectivity of campus. TU’s NOVA Fellowship sponsored the project early on before Deeds pitched the idea to the 2018-19 mechanical engineering senior class. She and a group of seniors took on the sculpture as their capstone project, and after the spring semester ended, the sculpture became her Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC) project. She worked with TU Physical Plant to complete the construction and installation.
Sights and Sounds is intended to represent inclusion and diversity on campus. Six stainless steel columns stand for the variety of academic endeavors at TU, connected by the curved stainless steel beams across the top. The cherry wood beams that link the curved beams symbolize the spirit and creativity of TU students past, present and future. Stained glass windows, made by TU students, are included in the wooden beams. Members of the TU community who walk through the sculpture can pause and wind up a music box that plays the TU alma mater fight song. The tune unites everyone through the universal language of music.
Deeds said the entire project would not have been possible without the involvement of organizations, departments and faculty from across campus. Mechanical engineering advisers John Henshaw and Steve Tipton supported the project, and Clancy encouraged the students when they were required to pitch the idea to the TU Board of Trustees for installation approval. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Clancy praised Deeds and her fellow students for a student-led and student-designed project. The senior design project group included Deeds along with Abdullah Alnajrani, Kevin Kim, Sammy Ibala, Drew Port and Zeming Wang.
“I hope this project inspires others to take their ideas and grab the reins of their education here to really make the most out of all the possibilities,” Deeds said.
Companies and organizations around the community also supported the project with mentorship on design, fabrication and engineering. Those involved were Jason Pingleton of JP Metal Works; Sam Ray at Wallace Engineering; Dan Moran at Fab Lab Tulsa; Elijah and Mitch Anderson at Andy Anderson Metal Works; Shannon Bentley at Plastic Engineering Co. of Tulsa; Rule Co.; and Tim Clement at Neosource Inc.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped pull this project together,” Deeds said. “And a super special thank you to John Turner and Terry Hutson at TU’s North Campus for the long days, endless advice and high-quality work they put into helping me bring together all of the pieces at the end.”