Hi all, below is an article which ran in the Democrat a few weeks ago, which discusses the owls in Ruby Diamond, and their significance to FSU. The man who is head of the master craftsmen program now at FSU, did one of the projects for us (a stained glass window), when we were building our house back in 95. Even back then he was known for etching glass, using a high pressure spray of diamond particles. He was also known for his stained glass work, and for any number of other types of artistry and craftsmen skills. He and his wife both were known I should say, and they had a studio (I think in Quincy), where we went for the design sessions; we got to see a lot of their workshop and techniques. --------- Published: October 10, 2010 Gerald Ensley: What's with all the owls? Images speak to wisdom and FSU's history Gerald Ensley The View From Here ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- Owls have always been popular in Tallahassee. All the common owls of Florida inhabit our area. We have a couple of schools for whom owls are the mascot: Gretchen Everhart (home of the annual Owl Run) and Springwood Elementary (school song lyric: "We give a hoot because we're Springwood Owls you see"). But at Florida State University, owls are enjoying a resurgence. The remodeling of Ruby Diamond Auditorium added two hand-carved owls on the entrance stairs to greet visitors. An owl in flight hangs from the ceiling of the auditorium. There are owls etched in the glass doors of Westcott Hall, which houses Ruby Diamond. Owls are etched into plaques fronting the flagpoles at Westcott. Next door, there is an owl carved in stone over the entrance to the Eppes Building. Across campus, there is an owl carved in stone over an archway of the psychology building. A new campus mentoring society, Women For FSU, has made the owl its symbol. "We are harkening back to our tradition," said Donna McHugh, assistant vice president for university relations. "We're not coming back with (a proliferation of owl images) so much as we are trying to expose these (current) generations to all of our past history." Yes, Seminoles are the symbol of FSU. But owls were the university's first emblem. The owl, representing wisdom, was the symbol of West Florida Seminary, the name under which FSU was created in 1851. When the school became the Florida State College in 1901, a new seal was created featuring an owl flanked by two torches - to illuminate the owl's wisdom and knowledge. In 1918, an owl was carved in stone over the entrance of the Eppes Building, as it was built to house the school's education department. (The Eppes Building later became home of the FSU psychology department, which is why an owl is carved in stone at the new psychology building on Call Street.) The owl disappeared from the seal in 1912, when a new seal for the Florida State College for Women was designed by a student, Agnes Granberry - though it lived on symbolically. The owl was replaced by a third torch, and the seal received the Latin motto Vires, Artes, Mores. The motto meant the students were being educated physically (Vires), mentally (Artes) and morally (Mores) - and the owl's wisdom was represented in the middle torch. After slight adjustments in 1947, that remains the FSU seal. FSU always kept an eye on its owl history. The Eppes Building owl got a good cleaning in 2000 when the building was renovated. The Class of 2000 donated three granite plaques commemorating the owl symbol at the flagpoles in front of Westcott. But FSU has added to the tradition with the recently completed renovation of Ruby Diamond Auditorium. McHugh said former president T.K. Wetherell wanted the remodeling to have features that "had a strong 'wow' factor and incorporated our heritage." Out of brainstorming meetings with Wetherell, College of Music Dean Don Gibson, Master Craftsman program director Bob Bischoff and architect David Gilchrist came two murals in the auditorium, celebrating night and day in a forest like the one that once occupied the hill where Westcott sits. And more owls. Bischoff etched the four stages of FSU seals, including two with owls, into the front doors of Westcott. His Master Craftsmen workers constructed a winged owl for the ceiling of the auditorium. An artist in Bali sculpted the two owls on the stairway. "Owls have been around forever in academia in western culture," Gilchrist noted. "But it does have big historical meaning (at FSU) and it worked out well." Certainly, owls have been long revered. An owl was the symbol of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. Native Americans considered owls a symbol of sacred knowledge. Early Europeans considered them wise. Owls were the companions of early African medicine men. Of course, in real life, owls are predatory birds who swoop around in the darkness devouring rodents, small animals and insects. The ancient Mayans considered them symbols of death and destruction; in medieval times, some believed owls were witches and shapeshifters. But, apparently, their predatory qualities also suggested wisdom. "Perhaps, it has something to do with their stillness (as they sit and watch before attacking)," said wildlife biologist Kate Halley, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. "An owl can rotate its head (270) degrees to see in all directions," said Bruce Bickley, a retired FSU professor specializing in folklore. "That makes a good predator but also a good observer." And now FSU has a few more owls to observe. Contact Senior Writer Gerald Ensley at (850) 599-2310 or gensley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI and please make suggestions for new material. if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.