Loras College Removes Statue Of Its Founder
Loras College in Dubuque took extraordinary steps yesterday after learning new details about the life of its founder. The Gazette reports that the school took down the statue of Bishop Mathias Loras on Tuesday after learning new details about his slave-owning past. The statue was taken down and will be put into storage until it is decided what should be done with it.
Loras was the first Roman Catholic bishop of Dubuque. He established a seminary in 1839 that would eventually become Loras College. The Gazette reports that school officials recently learned from a researcher that Loras bought an enslaved woman named Marie Louise while he was living in Mobile Alabama in 1836. He left the woman behind when he came to Iowa, but hired her out to others and then used the proceeds to build ministries in Dubuque.
The Gazette reports that previous biographers had known about Loras being a slave owner, but the new information raises many new questions. There is also no evidence that Loras ever expressed any remorse for his actions. The school has announced they will create a scholarship in Marie Louise's name next school year. They will also create a scholarship fund in honor of Loras' first Black graduate, the Rev. Norman Dukette.
Loras College President Jim Collins said that the school would not be changing its name despite the new information. He told the Gazette that "the educational experience beloved by our alumni, students, and faculty are not defined by the man."