C&IS unveils Hermes Rises statue in Reese Phifer Hall

Mar 6, 2023

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – On February 7, The University of Alabama’s College of Communication & Information Sciences (C&IS) unveiled Hermes Rises, a sculpture by Leah Webb, dedicated to Everett Holle and the Holle Family Foundation.

“Everett was an icon in Birmingham television and radio,” said Sharon Tinsley, president of the Alabama Broadcasters Association. “Even as a young broadcaster, I think he immediately realized the impact that a radio or television station can have on the community. He understood the power of broadcasting and used it for good.”

The statue, located on the second floor of Reese Phifer Hall, is a bronze, art deco interpretation of Hermes and represents the College’s commitment to excellence and opportunity.

“My intention with this sculpture is to imply a colossus and in so doing underscore the immense importance of quality communication to every aspect of human culture and interaction. Any depiction of Hermes that I have come across has small wings attached to the sandal. Clearly those wings are not doing the heavy lifting and are symbolic. As such, I granted myself permission to bring a new approach to that symbolism and opened wide the doors of my imagination. I intended to create a truly Tuscaloosan Hermes and decided to reference the earliest inhabitants,” said Webb.

Though Holle passed away in 2017, his legacy continues to impact students at The University of Alabama. The Holle Awards for Excellence in Creativity and Communication celebrate and reward student achievement in the areas of book arts, filmmaking, forensics, media writing, public speaking, screenwriting and sports media. These annual awards include a $10,000 prize for the winner of each category.

“The support that the Holle Foundation gives us through the Holle Chair and Center is critical for the College and our ability to support, develop and recruit leading minds in this area, whether they are faculty or students. These minds will transform the College into the vibrant intellectual space that Everett Holle imagined and enjoyed,” said Dean Brian Butler.

The Holle Family Foundation was established in 2014 to honor the legacy of Everett Holle and his parents, Evelyn and Fred. After Holle’s passing, the foundation pledged $10 million to fund the Holle Awards in perpetuity and establish the Holle Center for Communication Arts.