Everyone knows of Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty, but when it comes to colleges, usually only the individual students know the true meaning behind their schools’ monuments. We know, we know – your school’s is the best. Anyone could throw some bricks together or create a statue in honor of a coach, but it’s the stories and the history behind the monuments that make each university’s different. We’ve gathered some of the best monuments you have to experience for yourself.
10. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA – ‘COCKABOOSE’
There is no place that combines a landmark and college football tailgating like the University of South Carolina does with their Cockabooses. Starting in 1990, the land with 22 train cabooses that were all connected to each other was sold to be decorated and used for tailgating before football games. The first 20 cabooses sold in 48 hours. Fans immediately began decorating them in all the University of South Carolina merch they had and when there are home games, the cabooses are filled with people showing their school spirit. If anyone visits USC during a home football game, they are able to feel the tradition behind the cabooses and the love for football the school has.
9. FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY – WESTCOTT FOUNTAIN
FSU has many fountains, but only one really matters. Located in the front of the FSU campus, the monument was given to the university as a gift from both the 1915 and 1917 graduating classes. The fountain is literally surrounded by tradition as students can make donations to the school to get bricks engraved with their name around the fountain. What really stands out about this landmark, however, is its unique tradition of students jumping into or being dunked into the fountain on their 21st birthdays. Some people go so far as to say that you are not a true FSU student until you have been for a swim in the fountain. It is also reported that FSU presidents take a dive into the fountain to prove their allegiance to the university. Now that’s dedication.
8. UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA – CENTURY TOWER
Century Tower is located in the heart of UF’s campus and was created all the way back in 1953. UF decided to create the tower to honor students and alumni who had passed away during World War I and World War II. The Tower houses many bells that the university tunes to popular songs or holiday songs to bring joy and spirit to the campus while students are walking to and from class. As with many monuments, Century Tower has an urban legend of its own: for every virgin that graduates from UF, it is said that a brick falls out of the tower. Thankfully it doesn’t seem as though too many bricks have fallen out over the years.
7. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES – BRUIN BEAR
Every school has a statue of their mascot, but when students start putting a box over it to keep it the mascot safe, its shows true love for the statue. The Bruin Bear was donated to the university from the alumni association in 1984 and immediately became a target for graffiti during instate rivalry games with the University of Southern California. After having the statue spray painted supporting USC, UCLA students decided to take a new approach to keeping the bear safe. In 2009 UCLA students created a box to cover the Bruin Bear and sprayed the box saying, “the Bruin Bear is hibernating. BEAT USC.” Ever since, the spray painting of the bear has stopped.
6. OHIO UNIVERSITY – ATHENS COUNTY SOLDIER AND SAILORS
The center of Ohio University campus is known as the College Green, and between the two majestic gates to enter the College Green rests the Athens County Soldier and Sailors monument. Created in 1893, it recognizes the 2,610 citizens of Athens County that served during the Civil War. While walking through the College Green, students can get a history lesson about the citizens in their county that helped fight the Civil War. Talk about inspiring.
5. UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA – THE WALK OF CHAMPIONS
It is no surprise to anyone that Alabama is a powerhouse in football, so it was about time for the school to recognize the coaches that helped build the program up. Game days went from looking into the future of the program to also looking into the past. The creation of The Walk of Champions, unveiled in 2006, began with Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Paul “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings, and then in 2011 the well-known Nick Saban was added to the circle. Two hours before every home football game, the players are taken to the statues and they then walk from there to the stadium with fans cheering them on. This is a moment for the players and fans to see what a great program Alabama has become due to the success of these coaches.
4. AUBURN UNIVERSITY – TOOMER’S OAK
Most students at South Eastern Conference schools flock to the bars if their football team wins the game, but at Auburn they do things a little differently. These two famous oak trees were initially planted in 1937, but they did not become large enough for the school’s tradition of tee-peeing them post-win until the 1950s and 1960s. The massive trees would be completely covered with toilet paper and many would say it “looked like snow in the middle of August.” Unfortunately, the rivalry between Alabama and Auburn caused an Alabama fan to poison the trees in 2012 after Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl. The school then had to cut down the trees, but there is now a plaque in their place and Auburn is planning on planting new trees to keep the tradition alive.
3. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN – BURTON MEMORIAL TOWER
The Burton Memorial Tower was built in 1936 to honor the president of the University of Michigan that had passed away, Marion Leroy Burton. It is located in the center of the Ann Arbor Campus and houses classes and offices for the college of musicology and ethnomusicology. While this monument of a burial seems typical at many universities, most other universities use them as bell towers while the University of Michigan uses it for classes and professors offices.
2. UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA – THE ARCH
Would you take a chance walking under an Arch if you knew it meant you would never graduate? Almost all students would probably answer no to that question. The University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia created an Arch from 1856-1858 where protests would take place and clubs would meet. When the first two African Americans were admitted to UGA, students gathered to protest their acceptance and when September 11 occurred, students gathered there to mourn the loss of the Americans that passed away on that tragic day. It has then become the icon of the school and the urban legend says if you ever walk under the arch during your undergraduate years, you will not graduate from the University of Georgia.
1. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL – OLD WELL
Who can say that their school has a well that they are encouraged to drink from? UNC at Chapel Hill keeps its old well flourishing by making upgrades to it as time passes. The Old Well was given its present decorative form in 1897 and ever since has become a place for students to take graduation pictures, study for exams or even drink out of it. Legend has it that if you get some water from the well on your first day of class freshman year, you will maintain good grades and become prosperous in the future. Hopefully all freshmen take advantage; I know I wouldn’t want to take any chances.