The Gum Tree
Lore has it that the concept of the gum tree originated in the 1920s when it was against the rules to chew gum in class. You had to get rid of the stuff somewhere, so students who had classes in Pickler Memorial Library found the perfect repository. An antique suit of armor was on display just inside the front door and good ole Oscar, as the armor was affectionately known, was just standing there, all hollow and so very convenient …
In later years,
Oscar was replaced by a tree on the east side of the Quad, handy to both
Kirk Building and Ophelia Parrish. Some folks said that adding
your gum to the sticky mass would bring good luck. Others were
more specific and swore that a contribution on the way to an exam was
the way to ensure an A (or at least a passing grade).
As for the original, it made its farewell appearance as a “float” in the 1999 Homecoming parade.