Spelling error identified on new Ernie Pyle sculpture



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The Ernie Pyle sculpture in front of Franklin Hall has a misspelling on the badge on the left shoulder, where it reads "corespondent" instead of "correspondent." Ben Mikesell and Ben Mikesell Buy Photos

Media School administrators were made aware Wednesday morning of a misspelling emblazoned on the new bronze sculpture of famed WWII reporter Ernie Pyle.

The word “correspondent,” as seen on a patch on the left shoulder of the bronze sculpture, is incorrectly spelled. It currently reads “U.S. War Corespondent.”

The error went undetected for almost a week until an IU alumnus visiting campus noticed the misspelling upon inspecting the sculpture and informed the Indiana Daily Student and then administrators.

Sculptor Tuck Langland, the artist behind the new installation, said there are several options to remedy the mistake.

Option No. 1: The misspelling could be left on the sculpture, Langland said in an email.

“The misspelling would become part of the lore of the piece,” he said.

But that doesn’t seem to be the route IU officials and Langland will opt to take.

“It’s a minor mistake on an otherwise wonderful piece of art that aptly memorializes Ernie Pyle, but it doesn’t detract from the meaning of the piece or Pyle’s importance to IU,” IU spokesperson Mark Land said. “As for how we will handle, we just found out about the mistake today so no decision has been made. We will work with the artist to come up with an appropriate fix.”

Langland said he could also use different punches to mash the area so the misspelling becomes ?unintelligible.

He added that he could also create a mold of the patch with the correct spelling and cast it in bronze, then grind down the original and weld the new one over the mistake.

A final option would be to cut out the patch with a plasma cutter and weld a new patch in its place. However, he said this method would most likely be more work than it’s worth.

Recasting the sculpture is not an option for just one letter, Langland said.

Associate professor emeritus Owen Johnson, who studies Pyle’s letters, said the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Indiana Daily Student editor would have found humor in the ?situation.

“Ernie Pyle would have been amused by the misspelling, just as he would have been amused by the whole idea of the statue. He never had a sense of self-importance,” Johnson said in an email. “He probably would have invited Tuck Langland to join him for a drink and then written a humorous column about the whole thing and publicly forgiving Tuck.”

IU President Michael McRobbie will preside at the inauguration of The Media School and the sculpture ?Friday.

“I just hope and pray that all the media attention to this story won’t detract from the importance of honoring Pyle’s Legacy and the launching publicly of the IU Media School,” Johnson said.

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