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St Joseph and Jesus – Brother Joe Aspell Statue Dayton

Artist: Marianist Brother Joe Aspell

A new bronze statue is greeting campus this fall in front of Kettering Laboratories, paying homage to the University of Dayton’s Marianist roots.

Featuring St. Joseph carrying Jesus on his shoulders, the sculpture was unveiled to the community during a dedication ceremony June 11, during the university’s reunion weekend.

Tony Saliba, dean of the School of Engineering, said in a copy of his transcript of his dedication ceremony remarks that the choice of St. Joseph was a fitting approach with Kettering Labs.

“Like one 10-year [old] said, ‘what is cool about St. Joseph is he did not perform any miracles,'” Tony Saliba said in the transcript sent to Flyer News. “‘He just stayed home and worked.’ So do engineers. They do not get the accolades, they do not get the limelight, they just design and work for the betterment of human kind.”

Brother Joe Aspell, a UD alumnus and Marianist, designed the sculpture made possible by a commission from Tim Beach, another UD graduate, and his wife Karen, according to a university press release.

Tony Saliba said the statue was a “gift of historical resonance” for the campus.

“When the majority of our students left campus in May, this statue was not here,” Tony Saliba said. “When they return in late August, fresh from family, work, and fun, we can just imagine their surprise and delight.”

The statue is part of a yearlong celebration of the School’s 100th anniversary, according to the press release. But the idea for this particular project began several years ago.

Tony Saliba said his brother Joseph Saliba, dean of the School at the time and current university provost, initially presented the idea to President Daniel Curran. Cathy Ford, senior workplace design consultant for the Department of Facilities Management who served as the facilities contact for this project, said it had been in the works since 2008.

Ford said Aspell completed the sculpture in May and it then was shipped from California to campus. She said the UD installation then took place in June complete with a concrete base and lighting, designed by contracted engineers.

Ford said Facilities Management and the School are currently working on the text for a sign next to the statue in front of Kettering Labs. Campus reception to the statue has been positive thus far, she said.

“I’ve heard good things,” Ford said. “I haven’t heard a lot, but from what I have heard, everyone seems to really enjoy it so that’s exciting.”

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