Pete DeBusk: LMU statue honors his vision

Kate ReaganOur Town Leaders, Powell

Lincoln Memorial University will unveil a statue in honor of Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk – chair of the LMU Board of Trustees, chair and founder of DeRoyal Industries Inc. and noted philanthropist – during its annual Homecoming festivities at 11 a.m. Friday, October 8, 2021.

The statue, which was commissioned and funded entirely by Cindi DeBusk, is located in the center of a roundabout on the LMU Main Campus in Harrogate, Tennessee. The Unveiling ceremony will feature tributes from DeBusk family members including Cindi DeBusk and Brian DeBusk, as well as LMU officials including President Clayton Hess and Dexter Honeycutt, construction coordinator.

“For years, I have watched as Pete left every morning to go to work at LMU. I have witnessed the passion and effort he has poured into his alma mater and I wanted to create a permanent acknowledgment of that passion,” Cindi DeBusk said. “I have stood beside him as he reviewed blueprints, broke ground on new buildings and cut ribbons. I watched his vision breathe new life into LMU as it evolved from its liberal arts core into a national university focused on career pathways to build a better life. I am so proud of the difference Pete makes for LMU and the people of Appalachia.”

Serving on the University’s board since 1984, Pete DeBusk was named chair in 2000. Under his leadership, LMU founded the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2007, gaining full accreditation just before its inaugural class graduated in May 2011. What followed for LMU has been over a decade of exponential growth.

Pete DeBusk has guided the University as it has added the LMU Duncan School of Law (LMU Law), LMU-School of Medical Sciences and LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine in addition to terminal degrees including the Doctor of Education, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Business Administration.

The University’s footprint has expanded with off-campus sites stretching from Corbin, Kentucky, all the way to Tampa, Florida. LMU’s enrollment has more than doubled and the physical plant has grown with the building of state-of-the-art facilities including the Hamilton Mathematics and Sciences Building, the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Facility in Ewing, Virginia, the College of Veterinary Medicine building on the main campus, the Village Apartments and the Valley of Sports.

In Knoxville, Pete DeBusk spearheaded the University’s renovation of the “Old City Hall” building, now home to LMU Law, and the Madeline G. Clark Tower at the site of the old St. Mary’s Hospital. LMU-DCOM is now the largest medical school in Tennessee, operating at two locations including the main campus and a second location in Knoxville. LMU continues to advance his vision with the developing LMU-College of Dental Medicine and LMU-School of Engineering set to open in 2022, pending accreditation. Learn more about LMU here or phone 423-869-6280.

Cindi DeBusk tapped renowned sculptor Omri Amrany to cast the statue which depicts Pete DeBusk looking out over the LMU campus with a set of blueprints rolled up under his arm pointing to his vision. Amrany’s work is displayed throughout the country. He was commissioned by the Chicago Bulls to create a statue in honor of basketball legend Michael Jordan. The 16-foot sculpture outside the United Center has become one of Chicago’s most-visited tourist sites. The 17-foot statue of Pete DeBusk is crafted out of 1,500 pounds of bronze with a Tennessee marble base.

Kate M. Reagan is senior director of marketing and public relations at Lincoln Memorial University.

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