Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Latest issue

Investigating the various statues on campus

With the busy life of an Oregon State University student, many may miss the mysterious statues and sculptures hidden throughout the campus. 

If you look closely, you’ll find that they each hold a story that unlocks more of OSU’s origins. 

Here are five sculptures to look out for:

  • “The Quest” 
The bronze sculpture of Alice E. Biddle named ‘The Quest’ stands between Memorial Union and Strand Agriculture Hall at Oregon State on Sept. 29. The statue of Biddle holds a diploma, and was constructed in 1983. (Aisling Gazzo, OMN Photographer)

Near the busy path between Memorial Union and Strand Agriculture Hall, passersby can spot a bronze woman made in 1983, by Kirk St. Maur. 

The woman is none other than Alice E. Biddle, the first woman to graduate from OSU at 16-years-old in 1870. 

Additionally, she organized the first alumni reunion in OSU history. 

According to Oregon Digital, an online library database collaboration between OSU and University of Oregon, she was known as Corvallis’ most intelligent young woman, graduating OSU at just 16. She then grew up to marry professor William Walter Moreland, who’s the namesake of one of OSU’s buildings. 

As stated in the plaque for “The Quest,” it reflects the energy, dedication and strength of all students in the pursuit of learning. 

  •  “Wooden Benny the Beaver”
A statue of Benny the Beaver sits in an entrance to the Memorial Union at Oregon State University on Oct. 3. The sculpture is carved out of wood and a representation of the school’s mascot. (Aisling Gazzo, OMN Photographer )

Going into the southwest entrance of the Memorial Union, students are greeted by a tall wooden Benny the Beaver statue. 

A nature-loving artist from the southern Oregon Coast, Floyd Davis, carved Benny from a redwood and gifted it to the MU and the class of 1966. 

“There is an unfounded rumor that his son went to (University of Oregon) and there is some stipulation that the Beaver is to face south towards Eugene tipping his hat in respect,” said Mike Mayers, assistant director of facilities for the MU. “Reality is that he’s looking out the doors to be seen by passersby.” 

  • “Martin Kukučín”
The ‘Pursuit of Knowledge’ sculpture of Martin Kukučín outside the Valley Library at Oregon State University on Sept. 29. The bronze statue by Ivan Meštrović portrays Kukučín seated while engrossed in a book.
(Aisling Gazzo, OMN Photogtapher)

Another bronze historical figure, Martin Kukučín, can be seen crossing his legs and reading a book properly on the west side of the Valley Library. Kukučín was a Slovak author, physician, publicist and humanitarian who traveled the world. 

The sculpture’s plaque explains that artist, Ivan Mestrovic, created it to symbolize how they both were refugees who used their art in the new world to “bridge the distance between their homeland and their new.” 

The statue was brought to the University by a Slovak professor in 1974 and acquired by the OSU Foundation in 1977. Directly stated from OSU, “this sculpture reveals the importance of the pursuit of knowledge.” 

  •  “Solar Sonant” 
The ‘Solar Sonant’, a stainless steel circular sculpture near Johnson Hall on the Oregon State Campus on Sept. 29.
(Aisling Gazzo, OMN Photographer)

The Solar Sonant is a large-scale stainless steel sculpture of a circular loop. Located outside of Johnson Hall and Kelley Engineering, students may hear a gentle “hum.” 

According to the Public Art Archive, an online art database, the metalwork was specifically tuned to vibrate at the 8th octave note of the Sun’s tonal frequency -0.807 hertz. 

Paired with an amplifying inner bell, the giant solar instrument provides a serene, audible atmosphere for the engineering students around. 

  • “What We Hold Dear”
The ‘What We Hold Dear’ statues outside Oregon State University’s International Living and Learning Center on Sept. 29. The sculpture consists of five statues which depict students with backpacks who are all from different cultures.
(Aisling Gazzo, OMN Photographer)

The International Living and Learning Center is home to a series of life-size human statues wearing bronze backpacks. 

Each of the backpacks represent a different country, displaying the diversity and culture brought to OSU. 

On every statue, there is a plaque that states the specific country as well as the traditions, values and significance that come with it. 

These statues provide tribute to the stories and cultures that students bring to OSU.

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