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Lady of the Mist endures pranks

March 29, 2012

 

The Lady of the Mist was brutally decapitated in the winter quarter of 1981. Reconstructive work was done in order to repair the statue. –Submitted Photo

HANNAH SCHILLING
Staff Reporter

 

She has seen it all—bubbles up to her eyeballs, a catfish flopping at her feet, a curly mustache tickling her nose and all the while she keeps her arms open wide welcoming any student who walks onto Tech’s campus.

 

The Lady of the Mist is one of the most iconic landmarks gracing Tech’s campus. She sits in the middle of the tall trees and zigzagging sidewalks of the quad, her arms outstretched, while the fountain’s mist sprinkles her granite skin.

 

She was given to Tech by the Panhellenic System in 1938, and was the brainchild of two distinguished faculty members Mary Moffett and Elizabeth Bethea.

 

Michael DiCarlo, the dean of library services, has worked at Tech since 1983, and has seen what the statue has been through over the years.

 

“They cut her head off once,” he said. “They have put clothing on her, like a hat when it was snowing. The most memorable is always the soap and bubbles, and one time they even put blue dye in it.”

 

A recently added tradition at Tech is for the incoming freshmen to throw a coin etched with the 12 tenants of Tech into the fountain at freshman convocation. Upon graduation, students receive another coin like the one they threw into the fountain their freshman year.

 

J’Nai Foster, a junior electrical engineering major, sees another tradition surrounding the statue emerging.

 

“I thought it was tradition,” she said. “If it’s random, it’s disrespectful, but if it’s tradition, then what can you do about it?”

 

Disrespectful is the word DiCarlo would use to describe the various pranks inflicted on the Lady of the Mist.

 

“I don’t consider them as pranks,” he said. “I consider them as vandalism.”

 

DiCarlo compared the bubbles and the chalk drawings to desecrating the Tech emblem that so many students are careful to not even step on, or vandalizing the bulldog that students touch so many times a day for good luck on a test or a game.

 

“It’s not funny because you’re desecrating part of your school’s history,” he said. “Every school has buildings, but these are the things that make your school unique. You should respect them, not damage them.”

 

Holly Todd, a junior interior design major, thinks that the stunts are OK as long as they don’t permanently damage the statue.

 

“With college, there’s always some kind of little prank,” she said. “As long as no one does anything permanent to her, it’s OK. It’s not funny, but it’s not horrible.”

 

Other students, such as junior early childhood education major Shyla Allen, laugh at the stunts.

 

“I wouldn’t waste my time to do it,” Allen said, “but I’ll laugh at it.”

 

The Lady of the Mist, a mother-like figure welcoming the students onto campus and sending graduates off, has never done anything but accept any student with open arms. Thomas Teakell, a junior mechanical engineering major, feels badly for her.

 

“She’s a sweet lady,” he said. “Worse stuff could happen to her, though.”

 

Caleb Semms, a junior mechanical engineering major said he wonders why such a wonderful lady deserves such treatment.

 

“She is a lady of few words,” he said. “She is always welcoming.”

 

On the “Tech Traditions” page of Tech’s website, it says the statue symbolizes a hope that Tech graduates will fulfill their ambitions and their highest callings.

 

The Lady of the Mist, whether she is covered in bubbles or the water is clear, will always have her granite arms open wide to welcome students to campus, and to wish her graduates well.

 

Email comments to hms017@latech.edu.

 

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