Posted September 13, 2017

O’Connor Plaza and renovated Founder’s Garden to officially open Sept. 14

Temple’s newly renovated Founder’s Garden and O’Connor Plaza officially reopen Sept. 14. The update features a bronze owl statue and a water wall.

construction workers watch as a bronze owl statue is lowered
Photography By: 
Betsy Manning
Workers wait as Temple University's new bronze owl statue is lowered to its perch outside Founder's Garden. The new statue is quickly becoming a favorite spot for photos on campus.
Temple University’s newly renovated Founder’s Garden—the pocket park at the pedestrian heart of Main Campus—will officially reopen Sept. 14 with the unveiling of O’Connor Plaza, named in honor of Board of Trustees Chair Patrick J. O’Connor and his wife, Marie.
Dedicated as a tribute to their lifetime of leadership and support of Temple, the renovation added lush new landscaping, a water wall and an iconic bronze statue of an owl, the university’s mascot, which is quickly becoming one of the most photographed spots on campus.
“Founder’s Garden is one of the most cherished places at Temple, and I am delighted to contribute to a revitalization project that makes it even more welcoming and functional,” O’Connor said. “I am also humbled by the recognition from an institution I hold so dear.”
Outdated pavement was replaced, most notably with a large, inlaid Temple “T” on the lower level of Founder’s that is surrounded by diamond-shaped tablets for each of the university’s 17 schools and colleges. New lighting, walkways and outdoor furniture were also installed.
The etched walls celebrating Temple’s Great Teacher honorees—the university’s highest teaching honor—remain, as does the burial site of university founder Russell H. Conwell.
The most dramatic addition to O’Connor Plaza is the new signature statue of an owl. Behind the statue, a water wall on the upper level flows down into a larger water wall behind Conwell’s grave inside the garden.
New paving on Polett Walk from Liacouras Walk and across 13th Street to the Bell Tower area adds continuity to the portions of campus that have already received new landscaping as part of the Verdant Temple plan.
O’Connor Plaza and the renovated Founder’s Garden will also complement Temple’s stunning new library, which is beginning to take shape across Polett Walk.