Mississippi College

MC School of Law Welcomes Moses the Lawgiver

October 26, 2007

Heavy showers and chilly weather didn't stop a sea of Sam Gore admirers from dedication ceremonies to unveil his latest creation, "Moses the Lawgiver" at the Mississippi College School of Law.

Nasty fall weather proved to be a "blessing in disguise" Wednesday, said Dean Jim Rosenblatt after greeting many of the 115 visitors to the School of Law in downtown Jackson.

Rather than braving the elements, the crowd sat in the air-conditioned comfort of an auditorium to listen to speeches about Gore's 2,700-pound sculpture, a new destination point for MC visitors. They also watched in amazement as the 80-year-old artist molded the face of Jesus out of a piece of clay in a mere 20 minutes.

But the biggest attraction outside was Moses displaying the Ten Commandments in Hebrew letters. It's the 12-foot tall bronze sculpture that Gore crafted at the Lugar Foundry in Memphis over the summer. The sculpture was transported from Gore's Clinton home and mounted earlier this month on an exterior wall of a nearby MC classroom building.

"It's awe-inspiring. It helps remind us what the law really is," said Carolyn Gramlich, a third-year MC law student from Pensacola. After the one-hour dedication, Gramlich took time, like many others, to personally greet and thank Gore for his labors. "This is a lasting work he's left with us."

Others showing their appreciation to Gore, who's received international recognition as an art teacher at his alma mater, Mississippi College, included MC graduate Joel Hollingsworth.

"Moses is just amazing. He (Dr. Gore) does such realistic work," said Hollingsworth, a federal employee who works in downtown Jackson. Back in the early 1960s, Gore taught the Clinton resident the art of sketching with pen and ink.

The unveiling of the Samuel Marshall Gore masterpiece was just the latest of a series of his commissioned works in metro Jackson. The list stretches from the "Working man" at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum on Lakeland Drive to "Servant Savior" on the main MC campus in Clinton to "Christ the Healer" at the Baptist Medical Center.

President Lee Royce joined the salute to Gore, who also holds degrees from the Atlanta College of Art, now part of the Savannah College of Art & Design, and a doctorate from Illinois State University.

Gore "has mentored generations of artists and continues to bring honor, both to his alma mater and to his Lord," Royce said. "Moses began his best work at age eighty. Who knows what the Lord has in store for Samuel Marshall Gore," Royce said in remarks to the MC audience.

MC is in good company with its new piece of art gracing the law school, Royce noted. Moses and two tablets of the Law appear at the apex of the roof of the U.S. Supreme Court. Moses is in the grand rotunda of the Library of Congress and the Commandments appear outside the Ronald Reagan Building and are carved on the floor of the National Archives. "And having seen these sites, I can say that this exceptional work of Samuel Marshall Gore stands equal to any."

Gore sums up much of his more than five decades of artistic achievements in a few sentences on the printed program for the historic occasion. "It is my humble testimony that even my arrival on the Mississippi College campus seems part of a drama with Divine direction, as I have neither script nor for knowledge of the next scene," Gore wrote. "Having placed my life in God's hands, intent on following His will in my life, I discovered His plan one day at a time."

Gore, the son of a preacher who grew up in Calhoun County in Northeast Mississippi, isn't finished with Moses yet. He will be working on a half-dozen or so miniature versions of the sculpture. The Clintonian is also working on an accompanying piece of art for Moses known as "Jesus and the Fulfillment of the Law."

Visitors to the MC School of Law will soon be able to view Moses 24/7. Lights should be arriving within two weeks so people can see it any night of the year as they walk along Griffith Street, Rosenblatt said. The law dean expects Mississippi school children will be regularly coming to campus to see Moses the Lawgiver during field trips for many years to come. As raindrops steadily landed on Moses, he believes the art treasure "has a power that speaks to everybody."

PHOTO: Dr. Gore

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