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How LMU received a piece of history: the Berlin Wall

How LMU received a piece of history: the Berlin Wall

Have you ever wondered how a piece of the Berlin Wall got to the Loyola Marymount Campus? Well, former Dean of the Business School John Wholihan tells the stories of how it unraveled nearly 30 years ago.


AMBI: Wall crashing followed by rubble and cheering. 

Will: On November 9th, 1989, the Berlin Wall finally collapsed after 28 years of political and social division, as it represented a powerful symbol of Soviet rule during the cold war. The Wall stood 3.6 meters high and 42 kilometers long, which divided Berlin in half. After its collapse, pieces of the wall were scattered around the world. It’s settled in places like Madrid, Hotels in Dallas, gardens in Vatican City, and even in the Men’s bathroom of a Las Vegas casino. With such a pivotal part of not only the history of the cold war, but the history of the world that just raises the question, “How did LMU get a piece of the Berlin Wall?”

Well, for those who may not know, there lies a piece of the Berlin wall in front of the Lair, in between Malone and Foley Annex. And for someone who’s attended LMU for almost three years, I felt that not many people even knew we had it.

“Hey did you know we had a piece of the Berlin Wall on LMU campus?”

Student 1: “Oh, I didn’t know that.”

Student 2: “Wait, really? That’s super cool.”

Student 3: “Yeah I did. It’s the biggest piece of the Berlin Wall west of the Mississippi.”

Will: And with some investigation, I got a hold of the former Dean of the College of Administration John Wholihan, who shared his experience being on campus when we received the Berlin Wall in May of 1997. 

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And what was your experience with the Berlin Wall getting to LMU campus?

John: Well, it dates back to the whole breakup of European control, mainly in Berlin. And one of our faculty members, Dirk Verheyenne, who was actually working in Germany, indicated there was a possibility that we could get a piece of the wall. And one of my advisory board members was effective in how to get it shipped from Berlin to Long Beach. His name was Guy Fox, and he knew the ins and outs of the ports, and he arranged for it to come to Long Beach. Then we picked a spot that we thought would be visible for students coming in and out of Malone which is kind of the center of at least food. From there, we finally got it installed and it created a bit of excitement at the time. Then we were able to get some donors who wanted to help pay for all of this because it’s obviously expensive to ship this around the world and install them. So we had several donors that stepped up and said, “Ah we’ll support that, it seems like a good idea1”

Will: Thank you, so much for your time John. 

John: Sure! Glad I could do it. 
AMBI: Music fades out.

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