The Tri Delta Sundial is back on campus after an absence of over a year.
The restored sundial and base were reinstalled just in time for alumni weekend at the end of June, according to Cody Powell, assistant vice president of operations for physical facilities.
Miami University graduate Will Longhini remembers the day well. While working at Alumni Hall this past summer, Longhini spotted the sundial on the back of a truck without any notice.
“I was so excited to see it,” Longhini said. “It is one of the coolest features on campus.”
Longhini was especially excited to have it back because he was there the night it was damaged.
While walking through central quad during finals week May 6, 2010, he said he noticed that some screws were loose on the sundial’s base. He tried calling the office of physical facilities, but they were closed. After submitting a report online with his iPhone, he saw Bradley Hoffman, then a Miami junior, jump up and grab the sundial, causing it to topple over. Hoffman and a group of other men then ran in the direction of uptown. Longhini was later asked to identify Hoffman.
“I thought the sundial was really old and it might not be able to be replaced,” he said.
While the court case was developing against Hoffman, Longhini didn’t hear anything about it again.
The total cost of repairs to the sundial, not including the new base and alterations, was about $28,000. The university initially paid out of pocket for the repairs, but a court case has now resulted in Hoffman being held financially responsible for the damage he caused.
“Ultimately, the individual who did the damage did cover the cost of the majority of the repairs,” Powell said.
Susan Lipnickey, legal counsel for Hoffman and a professor in the Education department at the university, would not comment on the issue. She also refused to comment for an article about the case that ran in the April 15, 2011 issue of The Miami Student.
When the sundial was missing for graduation, there was a lot of negative reaction, according to Powell.
“There were a lot of students hoping to have their picture taken by the sundial, but it wasn’t available,” Powell said.
Longhini remembers how upset his classmates were.
“It is one of the coolest features on campus. I felt bad that people couldn’t take pictures with it,” he said.
The new sundial was welcomed by a positive reaction by returning students. Everyone on campus was Tweeting and posting pictures on Facebook, Longhini said.
Leah Reitz has been a Miami tour guide since the beginning of the summer. During the sundial’s absence, Reitz led tours through the Center of Performing Arts instead of the sundial area. While explaining the traditions surrounding the hub, Reitz would mention the good luck traditions of the sundial.
“The tour goes by it now,” Reitz said, “I act like it’s always been there.”
Powell is glad to have the Miami tradition back.
“Unfortunately, the process took longer than I anticipated, and that’s unfortunate. But we are very glad that the sundial is back and looks good,” Powell said.