Global Links

Man of Ideas

The Mason Gross Memorial

The Mason Gross Memorial—the 25th year reunion gift of the Class of 1968—celebrates the life of one of the most widely respected, admired, and popular presidents in the university’s history. The memorial serves as a permanent tribute to Mason Welch Gross, 16th Rutgers president, keeping his legacy in the hearts, minds, and view of the Rutgers community.

Memorial Team

Sculptor
Thomas Jay Warren

Memorial Chair
Daniel L. Ben-Asher

Class President
Andrew R. Jacobs

25th Reunion Chair
Garry Katz

Remembering his legacy

The memorial alcove with its impressive bronze bas-relief and adjoining granite bench and patio became a campus landmark soon after its construction in the fall of 1994. It sits prominently before Milledoler Hall, a stone’s throw from the Willie the Silent statue on Voorhees Mall. At the memorial, students and visitors traditionally rub the late president’s nose for good luck.

The memorial’s dedication ceremony was a historical event for the university, according to the Rutgers University Alumni Association. At the dedication, the late Richard P. McCormick, Ph.D., an eminent national and New Jersey historian, longtime Rutgers history professor, university historian, dean of Rutgers College, and prolific author, was one of several distinguished speakers. He stated, “The Class of ’68 has taken an unprecedented action, an action unprecedented in the history of Rutgers. No other president has ever inspired the respect and affection that these young men ... have manifested today.”

On the memorial, alongside the larger-than-life portrait, Mason Gross is described as “Professor, Scholar, Student of Philosophy, Civil Leader, Defender of Academic Freedom, Champion of the Arts.“

Mason W. Gross“I can think of no words in the English language more beautiful than the words ‘a free spirit’ ... It must always be the ultimate aim of this university to provide the atmosphere and the intellectual conditions by which alone the free spirit can survive.”

—From the late Rutgers President Mason Welch Gross's 1959 Inaugural Address, inscribed on the bas-relief