On Campus Quirks
The Faces on BC's Campus Few Students Recognize
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Walking down to Cushing Hall at 7 p.m. is terrifying. Not because there are eyes in the bushes, or wind in the trees—because, in the slight darkness, walking past Fulton Hall, there are faces. Four men and one woman’s stark white, blank expressions stare down.
During the day, they’re not nearly as frightening. In fact, they’re almost peaceful. High enough to make happening upon them uncommon, they’re easily overlooked by droves of students wrapped up in conversation or games of Scramble With Friends. Once seen, however, it’s impossible not to look up every time you pass by. Freshmen notice them a few days into classes, and by second semester everyone is aware of the strange faces on the sides of Fulton Hall. But who are they, and why are they there?
Unsurprisingly, many students at Boston College don’t know the answer to either of these questions. They assume, and rightly so, that the faces have something to do with the school’s religious affiliation. So maybe the woman is Mary, and the four men are other well-known saints (though possibly not recognizable). But let’s face it, after a few minutes, we all lose focus and move on—content that someone probably knows.
The faces first appeared in 1995, long before any of us came to BC. Fulton Hall had just been refurbished, made to look more like the Gothic style of Gasson and Devlin. The faces were a callback to a tradition of Gothic cathedrals where local clergy members were used as models to depict saints. So those five faces were real people who once walked around this campus, maybe even worked here. Why don’t we know for sure?
Barry Svigals, the architect behind the new and improved Fulton Hall, won’t tell us. Perhaps he believes, understandably, that as these faces were supposed to be those of saints, they should remain ungrounded. Elevating the ecclesiastic models to that status might ruin the illusion he worked so hard to create. And that mystery has earned them a piece in
The Heights, so maybe he was on to something. He has you wondering now, doesn’t he?
So all of those students rushing through the Quad, glancing up just long enough to make sure they won’t slam into someone while they text, they’re missing out. No matter how well-versed you are on scripture or sculpture, those faces are mysterious. Your best guess would be based on who the clergy members were on campus back in 1995, and even then your chances are slim. But hey, good luck!
They’re certainly unique, and mysterious by any definition of the word.
So if you’re walking through the Quad just after it gets dark, appreciate them instead of fearing them. Or, you know, try not to make eye contact. Just in case.