My Hub - Part I - Bridging the Gap - CycleBlaze

May 9, 2020

My Hub - Part I

Iowa State University

The weather has taken a turn backwards into early April with high winds and frost warnings. But brilliant sunshine was beckoning me outside. I thought it might be a good day for a campus visit, a walk around Iowa State University. I worked at Iowa State from for almost 30 years, save for a four-year stint at Washington State in Pullman. The university is a big piece of my “hub” so I thought I would share a little of it with you.  This entry is largely a photo-dump, but I will try to provide a little context here and there.

Land grant universities arose as a result of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, federal laws allowing each state to use proceeds from federal land sales for establishing colleges for educating the "common people"  in agriculture and the mechanic arts (science, engineering and technology). In 1862, Iowa was the first state to adopt the Morrill Act and funds were used to support the State Agricultural College and Model Farm, founded in 1858. Thus were the humble beginnings of Iowa State University of Science and Technology. 

Iowa State University encompasses over 1,800 acres in and around Ames. The 490-acre central campus includes two large academic quadrangles, a mix of classic and modern buildings, countless trees, numerous works of art, and a small lake. This was graduation weekend and although the ceremonies were virtual, many graduates and their families were on campus for celebratory pictures at one of the iconic symbols of their university experience.  

The Campanile is one of the major symbols of Iowa State University
Heart 2 Comment 0
Completed in 1891, Morrill Hall was named to honor the Morrill Act and is one of the few remaining 19th century buildings
Heart 1 Comment 0
Tulips display the colors of Iowa State, Cardinal and Gold. The Agronomy building is in the background
Heart 2 Comment 0
Cy, the mascot of the Iowa State Cyclones. Not sure why s/he looks like a bird. And the weak capital I logo can't even carry water for the Washington State University Cougar logo (the best ever! - take a look at Scott Anderson's mask if you haven't seen it)
Heart 2 Comment 0
Greenhouses and Catt Hall. Carrie Chapman Catt is an Iowa State alumna who was a leader in the Women's Suffrage movement and founder of the League of Women Voters
Heart 1 Comment 0
Built in 1892, Catt Hall was originally known as Agriculture Hall and later Old Botany Hall
Heart 1 Comment 0
Students often hang out in the park-like environment of central campus
Heart 2 Comment 0
Curtis Hall, home of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Memorial Union honors Iowa State men and women who died in armed conflicts while serving the United States. In the foreground is Christian Petersen's "Fountain of the Four Seasons" with each season represented by a Native American woman
Heart 2 Comment 0
Lots of people were out enjoying the day and lining up for pictures. But with little social distancing and nary a mask in sight, it was hard to know we were in the midst of a pandemic.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Photo-ops with Cy were very popular, one right after the other
Heart 0 Comment 0
Facing the 20-acre central lawn, Beardshear Hall is the main University administrative building
Heart 0 Comment 0
The rear of Beardshear Hall looks on a second open quadrangle
Heart 2 Comment 0
Enrollment Services Center - an uninspiring name for a lovely building.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Parks Library - the new addition
Heart 1 Comment 0
Marston Hall, home of the College of Engineering, is named Anson Marston, first dean of engineering. Among other achievements, he played a major role in developing Iowa's early road system
Heart 3 Comment 0
The Biorenewables Complex houses the Department of Agricultural Biosystems and Engineering.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Virtual Reality Application Center
Heart 0 Comment 0
The newly constructed Student Innovation Center, which is slated to open in the coming academic year
Heart 2 Comment 0

Among the many works of art displayed on campus are large Grant Wood murals completed under the Public Works of Art Project (Wood’s most renowned work, American Gothic, was inspired by a farmhouse in his hometown of Eldon, IA). The panels of the Other Arts Follow murals depict the land-grant mission in action: veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, farm crops, home economics, and engineering. These murals are displayed in stairwells in the old wing of the Parks library, which is now closed to the public - hence the mural pictures that follow were taken from the web. 

One of the artists who worked with Grant Wood on WPA projects in Iowa was Christian Petersen, a Danish-born sculptor who was appointed as permanent artist-in-residence at Iowa State in 1935. Major works by Peterson are found throughout the University, forming the core of the Art on Campus Collection that now includes over 700 major works of art.

Among the most controversial public art on campus is Andrew Leicester’s G-Nome project, where art and architecture come together in the Molecular Biology Building. Leicester’s work challenges viewers as well as scientists working in the building to consider the evil as well as the good that might arise from genetic research. In a Cycle Blaze coincidence, another of Leicester’s public works, Cobumora, is at Washington State University in Pullman.

One section of the Agriculture Panel in Grant Wood's mural "Other Arts Follow"
Heart 1 Comment 0
Grant Wood, "Other Arts Follow" Engineering Panel
Heart 0 Comment 0
4-H Calf by Christian Petersen, bronze cast from original plaster maquette
Heart 1 Comment 0
George Washington Carver, Christian Peterson. The original plaster maquette sculpture made by Petersen in 1949 was later enlarged and bronze-cast. George Washington Carver earned his BS degree from Iowa State in 1984 and was on the ISU faculty until 1986 when he left to join the faculty at Tuskegee Institute.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The Molecular Biology Building is guarded by four G-Nomes who sit atop the four corners of the building, which are wrapped in strands of replicating DNA
Heart 4 Comment 0
The outstretched arms of the ceramic G-Nomes hold the X and Y chromosome. Interestingly, these sculptures were done by David Dahlquist, who won an award for the High Trestle Trail project "From Here to There"
Heart 3 Comment 2
Scott AndersonI was sorry to read about Cobumora, something I missed in my WSU walkabout. It looks like I’ve missed my chance for this year too, because we won’t be returning to Pullman after all.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Susan CarpenterNot returning to Pullman? - I must have missed something.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
One of the terra-cotta reliefs entitled "Hybrids". This one depicts the Sphinx flanked by a horn and box, symbolic of the Horn of Plenty and Pandora's Box of evils. The letters A, T, G, C are the four building blocks of DNA
Heart 2 Comment 0
"Warning-Biohazard" depicts two gloved hands, similar to those used when working inside biohazard hoods. Here, they reaching out into the world from inside the building. The jumbled letters, in which A, T, G, C are in red, can be deciphered to read "HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT YET WISE ENOUGH TO DIRECT THE COURSE OF EVOLUTION". Hint for deciphering: Start at the H in the third line from the bottom and work up, around to the right, and continue unwinding the string of letters.
Heart 3 Comment 4
Scott AndersonHard to argue with that assertion.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Susan CarpenterAgreed! The quote is attributed to Robert Sinsheimer, a pioneer in the field of DNA and molecular biology. He was one of the first to suggest the sequencing of the human genome. I was surprised to learn that he was an ISU faculty member for seven years.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Jon AylingFascinating, thanks Susan. Outside Cambridge they have the DNA cycleway, to commemorate Watson & Crick (and Franklin and Wilkins, of course!) decorated with 10,000 bases from the BRCA2 gene. It also apparently represents the 10,000th mile of the national cycle network - though this is less obvious! In some ways it's a shame they didn't go with something a bit more thought-provoking, like this.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Jon AylingThanks Jon. It would be great fun to bike the DNA cycleway. I'm really enjoying your blog - it looks likes there is some idyllic off-road cycling in your area.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
For three years after returning from WSU, my lab was located on the third floor of Molecular Biology, on the right in the middle strip of windows
Heart 0 Comment 0
Molecular Biology Building
Heart 2 Comment 0

Animal agriculture has always been prominent at Iowa State - the large central green was once used to pasture sheep. Now, almost all animals are housed in modern off-campus facilities. An exception is the mare barn, where the University and the public visit make annual visits between January and May to meet the new foals.  Today was my second visit this year and I was delighted to meet a day-old filly enjoying life, scampering around on her long legs. A great way to finish my day's journey.

The horse barn at Iowa State University
Heart 1 Comment 0
Lunch time
Heart 1 Comment 0
This little girl was born yesterday
Heart 3 Comment 0
Learning to drink
Heart 2 Comment 0
I can't believe how fun it is to run around in circles on these big spindly legs
Heart 3 Comment 0
Home
Heart 0 Comment 0
Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 5
Mike AylingVery informative Susan!
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Gregory GarceauHi Susan, I grew up in northeast Iowa and a few of my friends went to ISU. So did my brother. I've been on the campus several times--including a RAGBRAI overnight in a tent on the lawn near the library--but I've never gotten a tour as enjoyable as the one you just gave. Thanks.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Mike AylingThanks Mike!
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Susan CarpenterThanks Greg - it means a lot coming from someone with Iowa roots. Hope you're doing well up in the Twin Cities.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Betsy WestSusan,

I finally looked at this site. Thank you!! I learned so much about Iowa State. I now need to spend time with you and alone walking the campus. As always, great pictures and great commentary!!

Betsy
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago