Three people in fron of the statue of William the Silent


John O'Boyle

The statue of William the Silent—a.k.a. Willie the Silent or Still Bill—has graced Voorhees Mall at Rutgers University–New Brunswick for nearly a century. The beloved bronze statue is still in great shape, but two Rutgers alumni thought a makeover of the grounds around Willie was overdue. Don RC’69 and Penny DC’70 Pray (pictured left and center) approached the university in 2017, offering to fund an upgrade of Willie and his surroundings, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the statue, which was dedicated in 1928. “We wanted to make Willie more accessible and visible—more the little jewel that it is,” says Don. The project—designed by Brian Clemson CC’87 (pictured right), the university landscape architect, and Katja Patchowsky SGS’18, a former graduate student in the landscape architecture program—will expand the fieldstone plaza around the statue’s base. Three new paths leading to Willie will invite visitors to get close to him and his loyal pup without trampling the grass. Six black iron benches and new lighting will also be added. And like any good makeover, in which less is more, tree limbs will be pruned so that admirers will have unobstructed views as they approach Willie.