The infamous hippo statue on the corner of 21st and H streets isn’t the only monument University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg has brought back to GW from his travels abroad.
If you’ve ever walked by the towering gold column in the Marvin Center lobby, then you’ve seen another example of Trachtenberg’s decorative touches.
In 2002, the approximately 20-foot-tall pillar, modeled after an ancient Greek Corinthian column, was placed in the Marvin Center at Trachtenberg’s request.
Assistant Director of Media Relations Matt Lindsay said that Trachtenberg brought a small 10-inch model of the column back from his vacation in Greece, and decided that he wanted a life-size version of the statue placed somewhere on campus.
The Marvin Center lobby was the perfect location to realize Trachtenberg’s dream.
“President Trachtenberg brought (the column) back from one of his trips, and thought it would fit well on campus, just like he did with the Hippo outside Lisner,” Lindsay said.
The significance of the towering gold column is similar to the bronze hippo’s lore, which claims that if you rub the statue’s nose it will bring good luck.
Senior Alexis Bryk-Lucy, who works at the concierge desk in the Marvin Center, said that when people ask her about the column she explains that it’s known around campus as the “Pillar of Knowledge.”
“If you rub your head on it, you will be smart,” she said.
So the next time you have a big exam, don’t bank on just rubbing the hippo’s nose. Walk across the street for some face time with the golden pillar.
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