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.
The Mason Gross Memorial
Thomas Jay Warren
Daniel L. Ben-Asher
Andrew R. Jacobs
25th Reunion Chair
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.“
“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.”
The Dedication Ceremony
At the October 9, 1994, memorial dedication ceremony, faculty and alumni came together to reminisce about Mason Gross, discuss his legacy, and share how he influenced their own Rutgers experiences. View a video of the event.