The Dawn of Vaccination, a new bronze sculpture by Jay Hall Carpenter, was unveiled on September 27th at the Michigan State University. The sculpture honors Dr. Grace Eldering, Dr. Pearl Kendrick, and researcher Loney Gordon for their pioneering work in development of the vaccine for Pertussis, or Whooping Cough, in the 1930s and 40s.
The sculpture is the gift to the university from the Peter and Joan Secchia Family Foundation, and it stands outside of the Michigan State University’s Medical Research Center in Grand Rapids. Carpenter’s remarks at the event included:
“. . . Today, before this beautiful building at Michigan State University, we gather together to honor three women who have done so much to inspire those who would follow their path of scientific inquiry and public service.
From the very beginning, as we conceived this project, our hope was to somehow include the next generation of scientists. We have accomplished this by adding two children to the sculpture. They hold the toys of science, a magnifying glass and a bug jar. They are admiring the women, as though they are looking at a monument to their role models. Adulation.
The women themselves hold the tools of science. Set in 1944, the first year all three worked together, they have the equipment and clothing appropriate to the time. Loney holds a microscope. She has given a petri dish to Grace, who shows it to Pearl. It contains the ideal combination of growth medium and virus sample. It will save lives, and Pearl cannot help but reach toward it. . . “