Office of Student Life

Student Philanthropy

Class Gift History

Graduating seniors have donated Class Gifts to The Ohio State University for 150 years. Their legacies are scattered across campus and impact students in visible and invisible ways.



Many campus landmarks originated as class gifts. During the 19th century, classes focused on campus beautification. They gave the William Oxley Thompson statue in front of the library (1923-38), the Mirror Lake fountain (1929-30), the seal on the Oval (1988), polished welcome signs, trees, and artwork.

The first officially recognized class gift was a group of elm trees on the Oval, planted in 1891 and nicknamed the “Five Brothers”. The elms have since been replaced by five red oaks that now stand in their place alongside a commemorative plaque.

Several class years (1906 – 1914) worked together to raise the money needed to install the bells in Orton Hall that still chime throughout the day.

The Long Walk, from the Ohio State seal to Thompson Library, across the Oval was restored to its current state by the class of 2004.


Access and Affordability

In the 1960s, the focus and purpose of class gifts shifted. Gifts started to bolster accessibility and inclusion on campus. Many are reflective of historical contexts, local and global. Campaigns encouraged students to donate towards student financial aid and student support services like Career Counseling (1975) and the Young Scholars Program (1990).

The Classes of 1972 – 1975 dedicated a significant amount of funding to ensure that every building on campus was accessible to students.

The Class of 1986 raised enough funds to create an endowed scholarship for students in the College of Veterinary Medicine.


Current State

In the 1990s, students started to give to the areas of campus that meant the most to them, personally, instead of rallying around a single beneficiary. The total impact of class gift giving was spread across campus based on each individual’s interests and values. A student might choose to support an initiative in their college, a unique scholarship fund or an athletic team.

The current iteration of the Class Gift Council began in fall 2021. The group raised funds for the Wellness Center, LGBTQ+ programming, the Student Advocacy Center and the Scarlet & Gray Advantage during the 2021-2022 academic year.

In addition to raising funds for the class gift, we are also dedicated to preserving the rich history of class gifts on campus. If you have any documentation or information on class gifts that we could include in our archives, please contact Lizzy Ehren (ehren.6).


List of documented class gifts

1878-94: Gateway on High & 15th

1886: Sword of 1886

1890: Book Plate

1891: Five Brothers Elm trees

1892: Nike of Samothrace statue (replica is still in Thompson Library)

1892-1903: Gateway on High & 15th

1901: Chinese Pagoda and Browning Amphitheater by Mirror Lake

1903: Tower Clock at University Hall

1904: W.O. Thompson portrait for the library

1905: Sundial in the Sphinx Plaza by Thompson Library

1906-14: Orton Hall bells

1911: Painting valued at $150,000

1912: Mantel in the library

1915-16: Student loan program

1917: Athletic trophy room

1918: Relief fund for orphans in France after WWI

1919-20: Electric strikers for chimes in Orton Hall

1921: Flagstaff for the administration building

1922: Piano for Pomerene Hall

1923-28: W.O. Thompson statue in front of the library

1924: Life Insurance policy for scholarships

1929-30: Mirror Lake fountain

1932-34: Student loan fund

1936-1938: Electric organ fund for WOSU

1939-41: Graduate gateway fund

1942: Flag pole

1943-44: Victory bell

1945: Flag pole

1946: Shelter house by Olentangy River

1947: Redwood and concrete benches on Oval

1948: Fireplace in Ohio Union Alumni lounge (which you can still see in our current Union)

1949: Bandstand by Mirror Lake

1950: Iron Lung for the Hospital

1951: Equipment for rehabilitation center

1952: Printing press for Hospital

1953: Campus entrance signs

1955: Building Name plaques

1956-59: Signboard for Mershon Auditorium

1957: 5 beds for University Hospital

1960: Bronze OSU seal on the Oval in front of Thompson Library

1961: Centennial Memorial

1962: Centennial Memorial

1963: Art collection for Fine Arts gallery

1964: Globe in the Ohio Union

1965: Dr. Fawcett’s portrait

1966-68: Memorial Scholars funds

1969-71: Money for short-term loans

1972-75: Making the campus buildings accessible

1975: Funding for the Career Counseling Center

1976: Clock on West Campus

1977: Scholarship fund

1978: Solar-powered clock

1979: Vehicle for disabled students

1980: Historic landmark signs

1981: Benches by Mirror Lake

1982: Money to the library to purchase books

1983: Atrium in the Ohio Union

1984: Shelter house

1985: Sculpture at the Wexner 

1986: Endowed scholarship

1987: Ohio Union Mall renovation

1988: Seal on the Oval 

1989: Constructed a plaza at the hospital 

1990: Young Scholars program

1991: Flagpole 

1992: Open to wherever seniors wanted to donate

1993: Open to wherever seniors wanted to donate

1994: Open to wherever seniors wanted to donate

1995: Open to wherever seniors wanted to donate

2004: Restored the Long Walk on the Oval

2005: Beautification of Mirror Lake

2006: New benches on the Oval

2007: Seal in the Ohio Union Great Hall

2009: Block “O” fire pit outside of the Ohio Union

2010-11: Rain garden in Cunz Hall



Azzoni, T. & Moore, M. (2000, February 6). Class of 1911’s gift sold at bargain price. The Lantern.

Bowen, B. (2007, May 21). 2007 class gift does not get student ‘seal’ of approval. The Lantern.

Lasick, M. (2006, April 27). Seniors give Oval benches as class gift. The Lantern.

McKeever, D. (2009, May 12). Wings of glory. The Lantern.

Ohio State University Libraries. (n.d.) Class Gifts. OSU Archives Subject Files.

Ruibal, S.A. (2015, February 10). Orton bells ring in 100 years. The Lantern.

Seal of approval. (2007, May 22). The Lantern. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from

Stross, M. (2010, January 24). Class of 2010 gift will be a rain garden. The Lantern.

Travis, Camille. (2011, April 12). Rain makes class of 2011’s garden grow. The Lantern.

Wynalek, L. (2010, April 19). OSU fought to get Union painting back. The Lantern.