Just weeks before John“Jack” Stubbs would have accepted his college degree in August 2020, his peers helped see the installation of a steel teaching sculpture in his memory outside the Civil Engineering Center.
Stubbs died in his sleep from natural causes in October 2018. He was part of the first class of Civil Engineering students at York College and left a positive impact on his classmates, fraternity brothers, and others in the engineering community.
“I think people should know that he was the most kindhearted, genuine soul you could ever meet,” says Becky McCloskey ’20, who had several classes with Stubbs. “He was always willing to help other people even if he didn’t know them personally.”
The sculpture will help future Engineering students, as will the Jack Stubbs Memorial Scholarship, which will be launched by next school year.
“It’s a great way for the College to honor Jack while doing something that will benefit future students,” says Professor Scott Hamilton, Chair, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, who worked with students, Stubbs’s family, and the engineering community on making the project a reality. “It took everyone working together to make it happen.”
Stubbs’s fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, quickly raised almost $10,000 after his passing. They wanted to offer it to the family to help pay for any unforeseen expenses because of the student’s sudden death, but the family said they didn’t need it. Instead, they asked if the money could be put to better use to enrich the campus or the lives of other students.
“We got to thinking that perhaps this could go toward a steel teaching sculpture, which we’ve wanted to put on campus since the Civil Engineering program was started four years ago,” Hamilton says.
The fraternity decided to put the money they raised toward the project, and others got busy raising an additional $40,000 to have the sculpture put up and a scholarship established. The sculpture itself comes from a design from the American Institute of Steel Construction, and similar sculptures are in place on over 170 different campuses worldwide.
York College’s sculpture is 9 feet tall and shows various types of steel construction and connections, including roof and foundation pieces, welded sections, bolted pieces, reinforcements, and basically anything you’d ever see in a steel-framed building. Faculty can use the structure to show students real-world applications of what they’re teaching in the classroom.
In addition to the sculpture, the College worked with Stubbs’s family as well as local engineering companies and professional societies to create a scholarship. The Stubbs family generously donated the money they saved for his remaining education to assist future Civil Engineering students at York College.
A future scholarship is planned for a student who best represents the qualities of Stubbs: having a good academic standing, being active in the YCP Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and participating in other campus activities. Fundraising is ongoing and the scholarship is expected to grow.
Many of Stubbs’s classmates graduated this past August. They celebrated years of hard work and were ready to embark on their careers—but not before honoring the friend who never got to finish his college experience. Shortly before commencement, they gathered outside the Civil Engineering Center to see the sculpture and celebrate his memory.
Tanner Yanick ’20 hopes the sculpture helps others learn about Stubbs. “I believe his death made me more thankful for the other great people who are in my life,” he says. “I truly try to live and work in a way that I know would make him proud.”
“It gives us a physical way to remember Jack every time we come to campus,” says Wyatt Kennedy ’20. “It gives me some reassurance that his legacy will always be remembered here.”