I will be the first to admit that when I saw an obscure box elevated near the Caf earlier this week, I thought it was the statue people had been recently buzzing about. That’s kind of avant-garde and unusually risky for Pepperdine, I thought. And I loved it. What a bold decision! The statue, like college, was what you made of it. It could be something different for each person that passed it throughout the day. What was inside? A titanium wave, or AKB himself? Maybe it was nothing, but that’s what’s so cool about the concept.
But then a few days later, I walked down to the Caf to find the awesome rugged box replaced by a bright purple naked baby. Her name was Dolores, and the confusion is only now starting to wear off.
Dolores is a tangible reminder of the past this university was built upon. She used to be on the old campus, where students would paint her like the rock out of tradition, but somehow she was lost in the move (Psi U?) and nobody’s seen her since … until now. And what better reminder of a Church of Christ university dedicated to purpose, service and leadership than a chubby baby holding a blanket?
But she’s bashful, so that kind of captures the pious spirit of this wonderful school. Oh wait — she’s awkwardly flirty and seems to be making a facial expression that is similar to the phrase “mhmmm, jealous?”
But there has to be a reason, right? After all, Pepperdine unveiled her on the 75th anniversary of this school’s founding, to the day. I did a little digging and found out that Dolores is, apparently, the first woman to graduate from this university. This nugget of information makes everything all the more confusing.
Now the powers that be may have just looked at Dolores the graduate and said, “Instead of doing up a big statue of you on your graduation day, we talked to your mom and got this silly photo of you as a baby doing the Coppertone lotion model thing. We’re going with that.”
But I have more faith in this school. I hope — and when I say hope, I mean I pray to God — that the people over in the budget office reviewed the funding request for this new statue, a request to build a full-size adult statue, and vetoed the idea completely.
Yes, instead of funding another statue, they cut the budget by 80 percent and put that extra money into things we truly need, like a new mailroom or SBX3000 Blender. So what was the school left to do? They still had to give Dolores her shout-out, and a 2-foot tall statue of a grown woman would be creepy, so they did the shrewd thing and went the baby route.
Weird? Sure. Creepy? You betcha. Something all of us will have to live with for the remainder of our tenures at Pepperdine? Absolutely.
But this experience will be better for all of us if we learn to embrace Pepperdine in its totality; the good and the bad, the amazing views, the wonderful people and the chubby baby statues.