Origins of the quote that embraces Miami experience
By Donna Boen ’83 MTSC ’96, Miamian editor
Here’s a trivia question for you: Where did the quote “To think that in such a place, I led such a life” originate on Miami’s Oxford campus?
Tick … tock … tick … tock …
If you said the sculpture at the Hub, you are correct.
Here’s a harder question: What’s the name of the sculpture?
Feel free to hum the “Jeopardy!” theme song while you ponder this. Yes, it’s a toughie.
There’s no shame in that because most don’t know the name, which is “Glyphic.” Created by Jerry Hawkins, a Miami art student at the time, it was installed at the Hub in October 1973. The transformation of the 7,000-pound hunk of Indiana limestone was paid for through the Miami University Fund and development office and commissioned by Alpha Phi sorority for its 150th anniversary.
The addition of the modern sculpture completed the Hub, which features a replica of the university seal in bronze, installed in the spring of 1969. No one knows when or how the do-not-step-on-seal tradition started.
But back to the “Such a Life” quote. it is inscribed at the base of the Glyphic sculpture.
Now, for the tricky question: Who is the source of the quote?
If you think it was the British military leader and statesman Winston Churchill, you’re not the only one. Miami President Emeritus and widely respected historian Phillip Shriver, in his 1997 Senior Last Lecture, attributed the quote to the former prime minister, who, Dr. Shriver said, was recalling his own student days.
Years later members of Miami’s communications office tried to confirm the tie to Sir Churchill without success.
Leads dried up for a Miami English professor helping out the communications folks, although he thought it sounded like Churchill. The sculptor couldn’t confirm either. Even a Miami alumnus working in the Churchill Centre could find no reference to the center’s namesake ever having said it.
So, at least for now, the quote remains attributed to Anonymous. Fortunately, that does nothing to lessen its impact on generations of Miamians, who like to reminisce on their college years by saying, “To think that in such a place, I led such a life.”