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MAY 2012 UPDATE HOME
More May Features:

A Word of Advice?
Freilich, Malasri get Briggs Award
Faculty lauded as "distinguished"
Dasgupta receives Eminent Award
Lipman receives Hammond Award
Professors receive Research Awards
Graesser receives lifetime award
Just Baby Talk?
Recycling Event
Capturing time in a capsule
YoLo is cream of the crop
Names in the News

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U of M captures time in a capsule

By Greg Russell

Thomas Marak has made a career of helping others capture moments in time and preserving these memories for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Often times he does it under the watch of guard dogs and law enforcement personnel.

Marak has built time capsules for the Clinton Presidential Library, NASA Cape Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. National Monument, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Muscogee Indian Nation and the National Park Service, among many others.

“Some of the clients during the sealing process of the capsule have had guard dogs and security people on site because of the nature of the contents going in,” said Marak, president of Time Capsules Inc. “They might be political documents or very valuable and irreplaceable objects.”

Marak’s latest time capsule didn’t require such security; he built the capsule that was placed in the base of the bronze tiger sculpture that was unveiled April 20 on the Alumni Mall just west of the University Center. The sculpture itself is a new centerpiece of campus tradition. Built entirely with private funds, it was created by noted artist David Alan Clark of Lander, Wyo.

The sculpture and capsule are part of the University of Memphis’ centennial celebration.

The University of Memphis’ bronze tiger sculpture unveiled April 20 will be carrying a little history with it: a time capsule to be opened every 25 years and filled with U of M memorabilia will go in the base of the statue. (Photo by Rhonda Cosentino)
The University of Memphis’ bronze tiger sculpture unveiled April 20 will be carrying a little history with it: a time capsule to be opened every 25 years and filled with U of M memorabilia will go in the base of the statue. (Photo by Rhonda Cosentino)

“The time capsule has four chambers, each of which will be opened in 25-year increments,” said Claire Frisbee, a U of M graduate assistant majoring in school counseling who assisted in the project. “The first will be opened in 2037; each time one compartment is opened, it will be refilled and sealed again.”

Added Dean of Students Stephen Petersen, “By filling a chamber every 25 years, in 100 years we will have 100 years worth of history that can be placed in the University’s archives. What a wonderful way to remember what the University of Memphis is all about.”

Items placed in the time capsule include an iPad, a University of Memphis retro basketball jersey history, social media screen shots, a campus map, recorded testimonies about “What the U of M means to me” and books about the University’s centennial.

Also included are letters that freshmen and senior students wrote to students who will be freshmen and seniors in 2037.

Education major Kelly Pietkiewicz recalled camping out for 14 hours in front of FedExForum prior to the Memphis and University of Tennessee basketball game her freshman year as well as her involvement in community-based organizations and fund-raising drives for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She urges students in 2037 to take advantage of “all the amazing opportunities this university has to offer.”

Marak said the sealing process preserves the life of the objects that are included in the capsule for years to come.

“The items that are made of paper are guaranteed for at least 500 years,” said Marak. “And probably much, much longer.”

He said he has seen Native-American headdresses, vials of water from Chesapeake Bay, candy bars and “even a $1 million check someone made out to his kids” placed in various time capsules he has constructed.

His company also created 56 time capsules to capture the nation’s history during the country’s bicentennial celebration in 1976; these will be opened in 2076.

For a video shot by U of M videographer Marty Deull on the capsule, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jOOgiYh0Wk.

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