Supporting poets, athletes and scholars; sharing fears, dreams and laughter;
witness- ing tears of joy, moments of discovery and passionate kisses, and keeping
forever the secrets entrusted to them, Wittenberg’s stone benches provide
permanent testament to the passage of youth that defines the campus.
The benches also represent examples of class gifts given to the university
upon graduation. Class gifts offer alumni something to identify with upon their
return to campus.
They also chronicle the many changes that have taken place on campus throughout
the years. Although some may honor individuals or events, others represent major
undertakings that required the cooperation of several class years to complete.
All have been offered, though, with one goal: to improve the quality of the
educational environment for future generations of students.
“It’s a significant thing, the presentation of gifts,” says
F. Kenneth Dickerson, retired director of special projects, “but the paradox
is that the gifts are not seen or used by the members of the class.”
However, there are a couple of exceptions, according to Dickerson. For example,
Reese Edgar Tulloss, a 1906 class officer, joined his class in voting to earmark
funds to furnish the president’s office.
Fourteen years later, Tulloss enjoyed the furniture himself after being named
Wittenberg’s seventh president, serving from 1920 until 1949.