Skip to main content
ISU University Museums
Main Content

A recognizable face comes back to central campus

Posted on December 10, 2019 at 10:00 AM by Betsy Grabinski

One of Iowa State’s most recognizable works of art has a new home. Jack Trice by Christopher Bennett, which was commissioned by the Student Government in 1987, was originally located on central campus between Beardshear Hall and Carver Hall. The sculpture was moved in 1997 to the outside of the football stadium until earlier this year when construction in the area required the artwork be moved. The bronze sculpture was installed in late November on the north side of Beardshear Hall, on the edge of the Anderson Sculpture Garden. A presidential ceremony, held on December 5, recognized the reinstallation and Trice’s legacy on the Iowa State campus, 96 years after his last game.


The story of Jack Trice’s short life is valued for his perseverance - both as an athlete (football and track) and as a student. Trice was Iowa State’s first African American athlete. He was fatally injured during his first and only collegiate football game October 6, 1923. Throughout his time in college and as a member of the track and football teams, he faced challenges due to his race. However, he aspired to greater things. Learn more about Trice’s life at the University Archives. In a letter written the night before the game, he wrote that the “honor of my race, family and self is at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will!”


“We are so pleased to have the sculpture located just north of Beardshear Hall. It’s an area where thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors pass by every day. And it’s a very special way to lift up Jack Trice and recognize his academic and athletic legacy as the first African American student athlete at Iowa State.”

Wendy Wintersteen
President, Iowa State University
December 5, 2019

An art installation honoring Trice’s legacy, I Will! by Ed Dwight, remains on the east concourse of Jack Trice Stadium.


Photos by Chris Gannon.

© 2024 University Museums, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.