December 22, 2011
To commemorate the significance of the opening in 2011 of a new academic building for the Donald R. Tapia School of Business, members of the Saint Leo University community collaborated on a time capsule. The process proved to be both serious-minded and light-hearted, and in the end, historic.
Students, parents, alumni, administrators, faculty, and staff met to decide what items would best reflect day-to-day life, including things that will probably become obsolete, along with the university’s timeless principles. Some selections included a laptop computer (without the battery), the university’s academic catalogs, and various Lions sports memorabilia. Religious items including a Roman Missal, a crucifix, and texts were gratefully accepted from the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Holy Name Monastery, and Saint Leo Abbey, to reflect the university’s Catholic Benedictine founding and continued values and heritage. The university’s longstanding commitment to serving the military was noted with the inclusion of a military coin and photography of the sculpture For Those Who Serve, which reflects the various branches of the armed services. Newspapers of the day were added.
To ensure the items do not decay, the university hired a special firm, Time Capsules Inc. Company owner Thomas Marak created a steel structure for the items. Once the artificacts were placed inside, he added a dry (and benign) preservative in a small cotton bag. He applied a special grease to the rim to create a seal, and bolted the top onto the box. In the final step, Marak pumped argon gas into the box through screw holes, displacing the oxygen inside. The internal environment should be more than adequate to preserve the contents. The entire assembly was then placed under the plaza of the school of business building, below a floor panel created with a replica of the university seal embedded in its center.
Everyone is invited to mark their calendars for the next viewing of the time capsule, but you will have to wait. The capsule will not be opened for 50 years, in 2061.