Christian Student, The,

Christian Student, The, was the name undergraduates gave a statue that stood on the lawn just south of Pyne Library, diagonally across from Murray-Dodge Hall, in the years immediately before and after World War I. The life-size bronze statue, depicting an under~graduate in football uniform, an academic gown slung over his shoulder, a pile of books in his left arm, was a memorial likeness of W. Earl Dodge 1879, leader of a group of students who formed the Intercollegiate Y.M.C.A. in 1876 in nearby East College. Remembered by his classmates as ``79's great hero of college days,'' captain of the championship football team, president of the student religious organization, the Philadelphian Society, an honor student who graduated near the top of his class, Earl Dodge died suddenly at the age of twenty-five. The statue was given by his brother Cleveland H. Dodge 1879.

The ``Christian Student'' was the work of Daniel Chester French, who also did the figures of Joseph Henry and Benjamin Franklin flanking the entrance to Palmer Hall, and John Harvard in Cambridge, Alma Mater at Columbia, and Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial at Washington, D.C. Erected in 1913, the statue was twice torn down: the first time in 1929 by some seniors during a spree the night of Commencement; the second time in 1930 as one of several episodes during a riot that grew out of a football rally (those found chiefly responsible were expelled for a year). The second time it was torn down, the statue was put in storage; it was later placed on permanent loan at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the Daniel Chester French Museum, which was subsequently turned over to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

Go to Search A Princeton Companion