University Museums

Title: Jack Trice
Name: Sculpture
Date: 1988
Medium: Bronze
Dimensions: Other (a.Jack Trice): 200.7 x 106.7 x 61 cm (79 x 42 x 24 in.) Other (b.Books): 12.7 x 35.6 x 24.8 cm (5 x 14 x 9 3/4 in.) Other (c.Shoes): 22.2 x 31.8 x 27.9 cm (8 3/4 x 12 1/2 x 11 in.) Other (d.Plaque/letter): 35.6 x 50.2 x 0.6 cm (14 x 19 3/4 x 1/4 in.)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Commissioned by the Government of the Student Body, Iowa State University. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: U88.22abcd
More Information
Jack Trice was Iowa State College's first African American athlete and one of only twenty African American students on campus in 1922. Raised on a farm near Hiram, Ohio, Trice followed his high school coach to Iowa State College to pursue a degree in animal husbandry. Trice was an outstanding student and accomplished athlete, participating on both the football and track teams at Iowa State. Tragically, Trice was fatally injured during his first major football game on October 6, 1923. Although he suffered a broken collarbone during the first half of the game, Trice insisted on playing. During the second half, Trice suffered major internal injuries due to being trampled.
The story of Jack Trice is inspirational because of his perseverance not only on the playing field, but also in his personal life. Throughout his time in college, he suffered discrimination. Many schools on Iowa State's athletic schedule did not want to play against an African American, and on the eve of his fatal game, Trice was forced to sleep at a different motel than his team. However, he was willing to accept the challenge. In a letter written the night before the game, he wrote that the "honor of my race, family and self is at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will!"
This memorial sculpture was unveiled in 1984 and later installed near Beardshear Hall on Iowa State's central campus. In 1997 Iowa State University renamed its football stadium Jack Trice Memorial Stadium and the sculpture was reinstalled at the north entrance. The bronze sculpture depicts Trice wearing a varsity letter sweater with academic texts at his feet and reading the letter written before his first and final game.