Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Arch

If you walk under the Arch while you are a freshman, legend has it that you will never graduate. History points to a UGA alumnus, Daniel Huntley Redfearn (Class of 1910), as the originator of the legend.

When Redfearn arrived in Athens from his home state of Florida, he only had with him a trunk, a suitcase, less than $200 in his wallet, and a fierce determination to graduate. As he approached the gateway to the campus on Broad Street, he vowed to himself he would not walk under the wrought-iron Arch until he had a diploma in hand.

Redfearn kept his word even when a freshman hazing ritual called for him to run with his classmates under the Arch in his underwear before the Georgia Tech football game (Redfearn ran with his classmates, but ran around the Arch).

One of Redfearn’s professors learned of Redfearn’s promise and announced it to his classes, starting the tradition--which became limited to freshmen--that holds to this day. Redfearn never forgot the inspiration he found in the Arch and provided in his will that $1,000, the original cost of the Arch, be used for its maintenance and care.

In 1858 UGA commissioned Athens Foundry to build a new wrought- iron gate and fence to replace the battered wood fence that surrounded the campus. The money for the project was raised by selling UGA’s original botanical gardens, located west of the campus.

The Arch was patterned after the one on Georgia’s Great Seal. The Arch itself represents the state constitution, and the three columns supporting it represent wisdom, justice, and moderation.

Originally, the Arch held heavy gates that were closed to secure the campus, but they disappeared sometime around 1885.

In 1946, two electric lights were added to the top of the Arch, and it was moved about six feet away from the street.

Now it is incorporated into the official UGA logo and its image can be found on just about anything from T-shirts to UGA staff business cards.


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