The Symbolic Old Capitol

I left work around 6 p.m. yesterday, and as I was walking to my car, I caught sight of the Old Capitol Museum’s dome. It stood out in a golden light against a bleak winter sky—a breathtaking sight. Standing for a moment in the cold winter evening and admiring the beauty of the dome, I was reminded that Old Capitol has been an enduring symbol of the University of Iowa and our community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends since the First Iowa Assembly made the UI’s charter official in 1847 in Old Capitol, a mere 59 days after Iowa became a state.

Old Capitol has served in various capacities over the years—as the university’s library, chapel, and armory, as well as a space for classrooms and offices. More than 150 years after the UI was founded, Old Capitol still graces the Pentacrest and reminds us that the UI is a community of talented students, faculty, and staff who work in an open, safe, and inclusive environment that fosters learning across a broad range of academic disciplines. It symbolizes the hope that all of us can fulfill our potential and promise.

As students, faculty, and staff return to campus this Tuesday to begin another semester of study and discovery, I hope we will all take time to reflect on what this distinguished old building can teach us. It is comforting to realize that in these often unsettling times, Old Capitol continues the tradition of serving as a center of culture and civic discourse for the State of Iowa and for the university.

Susan E. Sweeney
Alumni Records Manager

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