Figures of “The Athlete” and “The Student”

Michael Thomas Murphy
1918; Limestone; Architectural Feature
Central Campus; Above, and flanking east entrance of Michigan Union

Designed and donated by the architects of the building, brothers Irving and Allen Pond, the “athlete” looks off toward the playing fields to the south and the “student” (or “scholar”) gazes toward campus. Irving Pond wrote that these heroic figures of men, not boys, “suggest the wisdom and desirability of carrying on into maturity the activities and accomplishments of school days, when the world was fresh and ministered to mind and body; thus, they symbolize the continuation of the normal functions of study and recreation, work and play, into and throughout the period of active life.” The third thumbnail shows “The Student” during installation, with the architect Irving Pond (left, in dark suit) and the artist Michael Thomas Murphy.