HARROGATE, Tenn. (WATE) — A statue of Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk will now look over his alma mater.
One of the Lincoln Memorial University’s largest benefactors, DeBusk, chairman of the university’s board of trustees and founder of DeRoyal Industries, has overseen the small school’s growth for more than four decades.
Under his leadership, LMU founded the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Duncan School of Law, School of Medical Sciences, and College of Veterinary Medicine. The university has also added doctoral degrees in education, nursing practice, and business administration.
The University’s footprint has also expanded with off-campus sites stretching from Corbin, Kentucky, to Tampa, Florida. LMU’s enrollment has more than doubled and facilities have been upgraded including the Hamilton Mathematics and Sciences Building, the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Facility in Ewing, Virginia, the College of Veterinary Medicine building on the main campus, the Village Apartments, and the Valley of Sports.
“For years, I have watched as Pete left every morning to go to work at LMU,” said Cindi DeBusk, Pete’s wife. “I have witnessed the passion and effort he has poured into his alma mater, and I wanted to create a permanent acknowledgment of that passion.
“I have stood beside him as he reviewed blueprints, broke ground on new buildings and cut ribbons. I watched his vision breathe new life into LMU as it evolved from its liberal arts core into a national university focused on career pathways to build a better life. I am so proud of the difference Pete makes for LMU and the people of Appalachia.”
In Knoxville, DeBusk spearheaded the renovation of the Old City Hall building into the home for the College of Law, and the Madeline G. Clark Tower at the site of the old St. Mary’s Hospital. The LMU College of Medicine is one of the largest medical schools in Tennessee, operating at two locations including the main campus and a second location in Knoxville.
The university is set to open the College of Dental Medicine and School of Engineering in 2022, pending accreditation.
The statue, which was commissioned and funded entirely by Cindi, is located in the center of a roundabout on the LMU main campus. Sculptor Omri Amrany, best known for creating the iconic Michael Jordan statue outside the United Center in Chicago, cast the statue which depicts DeBusk looking out over the LMU campus with a set of blueprints rolled up under his arm. The 17-foot-tall statue of Pete DeBusk is crafted out of 1,500 pounds of bronze with a Tennessee marble base.