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New York  Art at Site www.newyorkart.nl Daniel Chester		French	Alma Mater
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Daniel Chester French

Alma Mater
1904
Columbia University
Website
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Alma Mater is the name given to a sculpture of the goddess Athena by Daniel Chester French on the outdoor steps leading to Low Memorial Library on the campus of Columbia University inNew York City. Installed in 1904 and donated in memory of alumnus Robert Goelet of the Class of 1860 by his wife, Harriette W. Goelet, Alma Mater has become a symbol of the university and a repository of its lore.
An owl is hidden in the folds of Alma Mater's cloak near her left leg, a symbol of knowledge and learning, and college superstition has it that the first member of the incoming class to find the owl will become class valedictorian. The legend at another time was that any Columbia student who found the owl on his first try would marry a girl from Barnard.