Fall 2021

Veterans Plaza Texas Christian University Campus May 2021

Photo by Rodger Mallison

Veterans Plaza Honors 89 Fallen Frogs

The memorial pays tribute to those who died for their country.

In the heart of campus, a monument honors TCU’s fallen veterans.

A view of the TCU Veterans Plaza, a pillar in the foreground and trees in the background

Stretching from Reed Hall across University Drive, Veterans Plaza stands as a memorial to and reminder of Horned Frogs lost in service. Courtesy of Bennett Partners

Veterans Plaza starts in front of Reed Hall, crosses University Drive and includes a fountain between the Moore Building and Mary Couts Burnett Library.

Crape myrtles, planted in lines, surround four granite wedges inscribed with the names of Horned Frog service members lost in war. The trees represent the TCU community living and growing together, but the clearing in the trees’ canopy symbolizes the void left by the absent veterans. Seating meant for quiet contemplation borders the space. Two pillars act as the gate between the plaza’s halves.

On the east side of University Drive, the grove of small trees is complete, symbolic of veterans being part of the community and future reunion with those lost.

An archival photo of the memorial arch before the top mantle was removed.

Before University Drive was widened in 1948, a memorial arch stood along the street. Courtesy of TCU Special Collections

The plaza started with the World War Memorial Arch to remember three of TCU’s own killed in World War I. The arch was a gift from the Class of 1923, led by veteran Edwin Elliott ’23, who later became an economics professor. The monument was also dedicated to those who enlisted but died before seeing battle and those who “died since from the effects of exposure on the front line,” the May 15, 1923, issue of The Skiff reported. “All fought with equal purpose and bravery.”

The arch, 21 feet tall and 27 feet wide, then marked the main entrance to campus in front of the administration building, sometimes called the main building and now named Reed Hall. The arch was dedicated as part of the university’s jubilee celebration in 1923. Its base doubled as seating, and “meet at the arch” became words often spoken on campus.

At the end of August 1948, the arch was torn down to make way for a wider University Drive. A committee headed by Ed Landreth made plans for a new memorial to include the original columns from the arch placed on either side of the path. The pillars, finished in 1949, are Carthage stone and Indiana limestone over a brick core. The south column holds the original bronze plaque naming the members of the Class of 1923. 

A close up of a TCU Veterans Plaza dedication plaque

The veterans memorial was originally a gift from the Class of 1923, altered in 1948 and redesigned in 2005. Photo by Jeffrey McWhorter

Architect Michael J. Bennett ’78 of Bennett Partners designed the addition to the memorial, dedicated Nov. 12, 2005. Veterans Plaza serves as a reminder of the sacrifice and heroism required for American freedom and democracy.

To date, the memorial honors 89 people for their service in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Charley Powell ’61 spoke at the dedication of the monument that honors veterans like his brother, Capt. William Elmo Powell ’64, an Air Force ROTC graduate who died in the Vietnam War in 1968.

“Each name on this memorial represents someone’s loved one with a story,” Powell said. “These brave men were asked by their government to put themselves in harm’s way, and they did so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.”