Academics

About the "Divine Servant" statue at WLC

Divine Servant

"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power,
and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing,
and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that,
he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet,
drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him."
– John 13:3-5

The final phrase of Wisconsin Lutheran College's mission is "preparing students for lives of Christian leadership." The "Divine Servant" statue, which was installed on the campus Quad in May 2003, serves as a daily visual reminder to students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the college's mission and of the importance of serving God by serving others.

The story behind the sculpture's installation

How does a campus thank a retiring college president, one who had served for 28 years? Not with money, awards, nor accolades. In 2003, retiring WLC president Dr. Gary J. Greenfield made it clear he wanted none of those things. But there was one addition he wished to see on campus: Christian artwork. He often talked about the importance of the college being home to a significant Christian work of art as a demonstration of the institution’s mission.

The gift was selected: the "Divine Servant" sculpture, a signature piece by well-known sculptor Max Greiner Jr. of Texas. The piece was ordered, but it was to be a surprise for Greenfield, and a letter describing the project was distributed to faculty, staff, students, alumni, board, and former board members.

In addition to donations from members of the campus community, others learned of the project and offered to help. Boldt Construction Co. contributed generously toward the sculpture's purchase. Perry Halquist, former board member and owner of Halquist Stone, Sussex, donated the massive Indiana limestone base upon which "Divine Servant" sits. Wisconsin Lutheran College friend Tom Kirchen invited President Greenfield to go golfing the day before commencement, so the sculpture's installation could occur without Greenfield's knowledge. The Flag Center in Wauwatosa donated a tarp that draped the 7-by-5-by-10-foot statue until it was unveiled for Gary and Sandra Greenfield after commencement exercises on May 17, 2003.

In a letter thanking the project's donors, Greenfield wrote: "Imagine my awe when this beautiful piece was unveiled on campus a few weeks ago. I will never be able to completely describe how touched and impressed I was with this campus gift. The fact that the planners unknowingly selected a piece that I had admired is too ironic to be a coincidence. This gift, and the motivation that led you to help make its presence on our campus possible, has been guided by the Lord from beginning to end... The divine servant example that Christ has set is one that every one of us – faculty, staff, students, and all visitors – can reflect upon and pray to follow every day. This gift has been a meaningful and humbling addition to our campus, humbling beyond words."