UT TOWER SHOOTING MEMORIAL GETS A FIX
The wrong Latin word has been replaced with the right Latin word on a granite memorial to the victims of the University of Texas Tower sniper.
As originally chiseled, the line above the names of Charles Whitman’s victims read “Interfectum August 1, 1966.” It has been covered with a stone panel reading “Interfecti August 1, 1966.”
The initial inscription, as three UT classics professors were quick to point out, was grammatically incorrect and negative in tone, referring to the killing of “a neuter singular thing” when the context involves multiple men and women. UT officials acknowledged that they should have consulted with the professors before approving the wording.
“Interfecti” is technically the masculine plural form, but scholars generally consider that acceptable and analogous to the use of “alumni” to refer to men and women, even though it also is the masculine plural, with “alumnae” the feminine plural.
Cook-Walden Funeral Homes and Cemeteries donated the stone panel with corrected wording, and UT paid about $600 to have it installed by the quarry that produced it, said J.B. Bird, a university spokesman. Cook-Walden worked with UT, classics professors and the Tower Memorial Committee on the project, he said.
The funeral company had donated the monument and a granite bench with an inscription that says “the Tower Garden memorial was made possible” by Cook-Walden “in honor of Mr. Charles R. Walden Sr. and all those who served on that fateful day.”
The memorial, which sits on the north side of the Tower by a turtle pond and live oaks, was dedicated in a moving ceremony on Aug. 1, the 50th anniversary of Whitman’s rampage. The corrected wording was installed without fanfare on Dec. 29.
A stone panel reading “Interfecti August 1, 1966” was installed in late December on the granite memorial to the victims of the University of Texas Tower sniper.
As originally chiseled, the inscription “Interfectum August 1, 1966” was grammatically incorrect and negative in tone, according to three UT classics professors.