By Lori Nelson Savage
Almost 60 years after C.S. Mott gave additional property and money for the construction of the three-story library shared by Flint Junior College and the University of Michigan, a bronze, life-size statue in his likeness has been mounted at its entrance.
A bronze statue of C.S. Mott was unveiled during a public ceremony on the grounds of Mott Community College on Saturday, Aug. 6.
“The choice of the statue’s location was easy,” said John Krupp, Mott Community College Alumni Association Board President, and member of both the Foundation of Mott Community College and Back to the Bricks boards.
When the building was complete, he added, it was named the Charles Stewart Mott Library, and on Mott’s 80th birthday, he gave the library to the college.
The Back to the Bricks board chose sculptor Joe Rundell to bring statues of former Flint businessmen and leaders, including C.S. Mott, to life. He also had created the statues of David Buick, Louis Chevrolet, and Billy Durant found downtown.
According to Rundell, he was given the opportunity to create the first statue because he offered to do it for free. “I thought it was only fair,” said Rundell, a GM retiree who took up sculpting at the age of 71. “I was learning as I was sculpting.”
Rundell said there were other sculptors who wanted to do the statues, and he was very happy when Al Hatch, Back to the Bricks board president, told him that he had been chosen to do them. Rundell is an internationally-known artist also renowned as an engraver, particularly of antique shotguns and rifles.
C.S. Mott was the statue that Joe Rundell most wanted to create. “C.S. Mott was the most difficult to do,” he said, “because, so many details had to be put into it.” Standing stately at a little more than his height and build, the clay statue of Mott is adorned with pins, buttons, a tie clip, a coat over his left forearm, a pipe in his right hand and a hat in his left.
There are many things to take into consideration when creating a clay statue for bronzing, Rundell explained. “The bronzing process shrinks the statue slightly–for every foot the statue will lose 1/4 inch,” Rundell said.
Rundell said his clay statues are used to create the mold for the bronze statues and that once the molds are created, the clay statues are returned to him. “Some of them come back in pretty rough condition, and I’ve had to repair them,” he said surrounded by several clay figures.
“I am so pleased that Mr. Mott is being honored in this place—the grounds, the buildings, are all a tribute to his legacy. The statue belongs at the front door of the library,” said Krupp. “I am looking forward to having his presence here in a way that a whole lot of people will notice – he was a true gentleman who represents this city well.”
Krupp attended Flint Junior College from September 1964 to May 1967. “Mr. Mott was a great man who exemplified the purest entrepreneurs of his time. He wasn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves to get the job done and, as a CPA, I have always been impressed with his financial skill. His philanthropic actions and generosity have benefitted thousands of people.”
“I used to look out my window and see six cows,” said C.S. Mott, as noted on a plaque at Flint’s Sloan Museum, “now I look out and see 7000 students. I think I made a very good exchange.”
Major contributors for this project include the Back to the Bricks organization; the Foundation for Mott Community College; Mott Community College Alumni Association; the Bruin Club of Genesee County, and the Rotary Club of Flint.
Staff writer Lori Nelson Savage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.