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Historic carving marking library entrance
provides focal point for Powering Minds

March 27, 2006 -- After an early morning fire destroyed its main building in January of 1931, the First District Agricultural and Mechanical College of Jonesboro was left without most of its classrooms, laboratories, offices and the library.

The obstacles resulting from the loss and the challenges of erecting a new building were overcome by the leadership and the students at the school, which had existed for barely 20 years at the time of the fire.

The Scholar, west side of Wilson HallThe college sprang back relatively fast during those dark days of the Depression era. Students and faculty began classes in the new R. E. Lee Wilson Hall on Nov. 28, 1932.

Architects Estes W. Mann of Memphis and J. R. Petter and A. N. McAninch of Little Rock evidently associated their respective firms to design Wilson Hall, according to the building’s original drawings. As part of the art deco styling that was popular for buildings erected in that era, the architects used limestone carvings in prominent spots around the building.

Students visit outside Wilson Hall library, 1961Above the exterior entrance to the library of Wilson Hall, a carving within a circular shape featured a thoughtful-looking man studying an open scroll. ASU has commonly referred to this character as The Scholar (see photos above and at right).

Seventy-four years later, The Scholar provided ASU’s graphic artists with the basic visual element for the new theme of Powering Minds.

 Powering Minds badgeThe Powering Minds badge utilizes a stylized version of The Scholar, incorporating university colors and taking part of its shape from another historic campus feature, The Arch. The Arch, which still stands just south of Wilson Hall, marked the entrance to the original administration building.

The Powering Minds theme will be implemented in various ways over the next few months, with immediate visibility on campus banners and the university web site, plus advertising and recruiting materials. In the longer term, the theme will be carried forward in the university’s Centennial Celebration materials leading up to the observance in 2009 and 2010.

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Click here to learn more about Powering Minds.

Powering Minds is a registered trademark of Arkansas State University

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