The return of the Jack Trice sculpture to central campus was celebrated on Thursday.
Students and staff gathered around the legacy’s statue to listen to speakers tell the story of the first African American student athlete at Iowa State.
Previously residing at the football stadium, the Jack Trice sculpture was relocated north of Beardshear Hall. The move was done by employees of the university’s facilities planning and management department while students were home over the fall break.
Sydney Marshall is a curator of the art on campus collection university museums. She was a part of the process of moving the sculpture from Jack Trice Stadium to central campus.
“I was here making sure he was angled in the right way and everything was in place,” Marshall said. “We just did some touch ups on Jack Trice to make sure there wasn’t any corrosion. We looked him over and made sure he was fine.”
Although the sculpture is approximately life size, moving it took heavy machinery and a lot of consideration. The facilities planning and management department used its crane.
Marshall said even the books next to Jack Trice’s sculpture are hard to lift, weighing at least 75 pounds.
Along with the literature, the sculpture depicts Jack Trice reading the letter he wrote to himself the night before his first—and last—game as a cyclone.
Austin Graber, senior in business economics, serves as the president of Iowa State’s student government. Graber spoke at the event and read a piece of Jack Trice’s letter. Graber alluded to Jack Trice’s words as he made an analogy between the football player’s life to the lives of students.
“This inspiring message rings true to us as students today,” Graber said. “No matter the expectations we may face in our daily lives, if we put our body and soul into whatever it may be and stay on our toes every minute, we can expect to make good and succeed as Jack Trice tells us.”
Chase Allen is a senior in mechanical engineering and also a member of Iowa State’s football team. Allen serves as the president of the student athlete advisory committee and also spoke at the event. Allen admired the situation he was in while writing his letter.
“One of the most remarkable things that I found out was that Jack Trice wrote [his letter] in his room by himself because he wasn’t allowed to eat in the restaurant where the rest of the team was eating before the game,” Allen said. “It just makes us be so thankful for what we have and the changes that have happened today.”
After Allen spoke, his fellow teammate Marcel Spears, open option senior in liberal arts and sciences, took his turn to share what Jack Trice’s story meant to him. Spears said he has been inspired by Jack Trice to play for his teammates, who he loves as his brothers.
“The impact that [Jack Trice] had on this university has just allowed a lot of relationships that will never be broken,” Spears said. “He took the hard route, he could have taken the easy route, but he didn’t. He knew what the bigger picture was, he stuck to it and he had made this university truly a family for me.”
Jack Trice’s story has impacted the lives of many students. Graber said he thinks having the sculpture on central campus will remind everyone about Jack Trice’s legacy at Iowa State.
“Jack Trice is someone that we as students look up to as a perfect example of perseverance and overcoming any obstacles despite any odds that may be against us,” Graber said. “I am grateful to have a hero like this at Iowa State University.”