Restored Ball Garden to be rededicated, adding historic flavor to welcoming campus

  • June 16, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ball Nurses Sunken Garden is poised to generate new memories and traditions at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The garden, conceived in 1929 as a therapeutic greenspace with a convalescent park, has been restored and on June 21 will be rededicated.

For decades, the garden was a setting for hijinks and healing, a place for IU School of Nursing students to celebrate friendships and graduations.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie, IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar and School of Nursing Dean Robin Newhouse will lead the ceremony reintroducing the campus treasure to new generations of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

The ceremony, which is open to the public, will take place at Ball Residence Hall, 1226 W. Michigan St. A reception begins at 2 p.m., and the rededication program starts at 2:45 p.m.

"The fact that Ball Garden has blossomed so beautifully following its restoration stands as a symbol of the spirit and strength of the IUPUI community," Paydar said. "Our alumni and friends worked tirelessly to see this garden restored, and we are grateful to them for their tenacity and heart."

With its brick walks, grassy areas and fountain featuring the bronze sculpture "Eve," the garden is destined to become a welcoming spot for people from IUPUI and the greater community alike, contributing to efforts toward making the campus a friendly space.

As it did years ago, the garden will embrace and encourage everyone to work, learn and interact in an aesthetically pleasing environment.

The garden was designed by Olmsted Brothers, the firm founded by the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. It was named in recognition of a $500,000 gift from brothers George and Frank Ball of Muncie for the construction of a home for the nurses of Riley Hospital.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

The Sunken Garden became the setting for School of Nursing milestone ceremonies, including graduation, capping, pinning and Senior Day activities.

The sculpture "Eve," created in 1931 and nicknamed "Flo" by nursing students in honor of Florence Nightingale, has been returned to its rightful home in the heart of the garden.

Over the years, traditions have grown around this centerpiece statue.

"The statue was a fun target for student nurses to dress when they had to let off some steam," said Audrey Corne, who, along with members of the IU School of Nursing class of 1959 and others, helped bring the garden back to life. The tradition has included dressing "Flo" in a training uniform at graduation time.

"Eve" sculpture, decorated in the 1960s.

"Eve" sculpture, decorated in the 1960s.

Print Quality Photo

This 1946 photo shows the first pinning ceremony in the garden. Students had petitioned the school for their pinning ceremony to be held there, and the request was granted.

This 1946 photo shows the first pinning ceremony in the garden. Students had petitioned the school for their pinning ceremony to be held there, and the request was granted.

Print Quality Photo

Richard Schneider