Centennial video series: Willy’s Statue

A beloved 82-year-old at Rice University is “getting a little work done” so he’ll look his very best for the university’s Centennial Celebration next month. Known affectionately as Willy, the statue of university founder William Marsh Rice that stands at the center of Rice’s Academic Quad, has played an important role in the culture of campus since 1930. Throughout the years, Willy has become one of the main meeting places on the Rice campus and traditions have formed around him, including shouting the Gratuitous Friday Cheer, affixing a wreath before commencement and decorating Willy for holidays, special campus events and college parties. The statue will be cleaned and waxed for the centennial.

Working with Centennial Historian Melissa Kean, video producer Brandon Martin takes a look at the Willy’s statue. At the end of the story, there is bonus material from Kean about Willy’s ashes, which are interred in the statue’s granite base. For more information on Rice’s history, visit Kean’s blog at www.ricehistorycorner.com.

To help celebrate the university’s centennial Oct. 12, Rice University is producing weekly videos exploring the school’s unique history.

To see other stories in the centennial video series, go to www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL60D6D71E71B66B3D&feature=plcp.

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.