During Homecoming 2019 on Saturday, September 14 at 1 p.m., the MMA community will honor former Academy President Col. Charles R. Stribling ’44, who spent more than 75 years in dedicated service to MMA and its mission, at the Col. Stribling Statue Dedication Ceremony. The event is free to attend with no RSVP necessary, and will be livestreamed at livestream.com/MMA.
A project planned by the Alumni Association, artist Javier Campuzano ’82 created a life-sized bronze statue of Stribling standing with a cadet to be prominently placed near the Senior Walk. The cadet is modeled after Phil Baum ’63, who donated funds for the materials for the project. The statue symbolizes Stribling’s greatness as a leader, mentor and role model, having had a positive impact on thousands of alumni throughout his service to MMA.
"What inspired me to do the sculpture that way was to send a message that Col. Stribling was a guidance and a brother to all of us," Campuzano said. "For me, as an international cadet who did not speak English, he was patient and understanding. I wanted to portray him as a father figure guiding a cadet, close to the corps. He draws lots of respect, but he was also a down-to-earth person who anyone could talk to."
The statue stands atop a 3-foot-by-3-foot granite base engraved with the names of alumni donors who contributed to the Col. Stribling Memorial Fund. All remaining proceeds, after expenses, will be donated to support the Stribling Scholars Endowment Fund, which is a perpetual scholarship designed to benefit cadets with superior academic achievements who also embody the spirit set forth during Stribling’s tenure as president — soldier, scholar and gentleman.
Stribling’s connection to the military and Academy were profound. He was the son of the late Col. and Mrs. C. R. Stribling Jr.; the great-great grandson of Admiral C.K. Stribling, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy (1851-1853); and a great-grandson of Benjamin R. Cauthorn, one of MMA’s original founders in 1889.
He graduated from MMA in 1944 and went on to serve in the U.S. Navy from 1945-1946. After his service, he earned bachelor of arts and bachelor of journalism degrees from the University of Missouri in 1949 and 1950, respectively. He joined the MMA faculty in 1952 and served for 16 years as an instructor, coach, public relations and alumni director, commandant of cadets and vice president and executive officer. In 1968 he succeeded his father as president of MMA, a role he held for 25 years. In 1993 he retired and continued as chairman and eventually chairman emeritus of the MMA Board of Trustees.
Stribling’s legacy is one of great integrity, service and dedication to the Academy. MMA is proud to have the opportunity to honor him and that legacy, with the help of the alumni whom he so greatly affected, at the Col. Stribling Statue Dedication Ceremony.
"The Academy for me was a place that gave us pride," said Campuzano, whose artwork is also found on campus in the MMA shield at the natatorium, the football field marker and a small painting at the rifle range. "It's been more than 40 years since I wore that uniform for the first time,and I can still feel how proud we marched through the streets of downtown on Sunday mornings to church. I can still fill the cadence of those drums. MMA was a home for me for four years, and I still see my fellow cadets as brothers — Colonel Stribling included."