2020 Hall of Fame Inductee
Robert Merrell Gage, class of 1911, a sculptor. Born in 1892 in Topeka, after graduation from Washburn University of Topeka, Gage left Kansas to study sculpture with Gutzom Borglum, who carved the figures on Mount Rushmore, and Robert Henri, both exponents of the “American Theme” in art, in New York and France. When he returned to Topeka, he began his first public commission, the statue of President Abraham Lincoln on the Kansas Capitol grounds. In fact, he executed the likenesses of Lincoln in many stages of the president’s life, and in 1955 Gage starred in a short film, The Face of Lincoln, with that film winning an Academy Award for Best Live action Short Film. His other works include the Pioneer Mother Memorial near the Lincoln statue, the Police Memorial and Veterans’ Fountain in Kansas City, and the History of California frieze in Beverly Hills. Some have called him “the American sculptor.” He died in 1981.