Frog Baby stands in the fountain Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, outside of Bracken Library. Brooke Kemp, DN
Frog Baby: Ball State’s little touch of luck
Editor's note: In honor of the university's centennial year, The Daily News is counting down 100 days to the university's celebration Sept. 6 with 100 of Ball State's most famous traditions and figures. Check back each day to read about Cardinal history.
Ball State is home to many traditions and campus landmarks — one of the most beloved being Frog Baby.
Frog Baby was created by American sculptor Edith Barretto Stevens Parsons and came to Ball State in 1937.
The 3-foot-tall bronze sculpture has moved around campus several times prior to finding its permanent home in front of the Alexander M. Bracken Library.
In 1937, Frank Ball, one of the five Ball brothers, purchased Frog Baby and donated the sculpture to be put on display in the Ball State Museum of Art, now known as the David Owsley Museum of Art.
Frog Baby quickly became a legend on campus. Ball State students facing final exams would take a trip to visit the art museum to rub the sculpture’s nose for good luck.
The excessive rubbing by students began to take a toll on Frog Baby, and after years of physical interaction, the nose wore down to a nub.
Frog Baby was eventually packed away and given a nose job in 1993 before being placed in the center of a fountain north of the library.
Frog Baby serves as part of a dedication to Alexander M. Bracken, who served as a 22-year president of the Ball State Board of Trustees and chairman of Ball Corporation from 1970 to 1978.
“The fountain is the perfect tribute to a man who formally served this university for 26 years, not out of duty but out of genuine love for education,” university president John Worthen said in a 1994 Daily News article.
Frog Baby has fallen victim to multiple vandalism incidents since being placed in the fountain.
One occasion happened in 1999.
In an apparent attempt to steal the sculpture, suspects stole four smaller frogs that sat around the base of the fountain, causing water pipe damage.
The overall damage to the fountain was estimated to be more than $10,000. Three Ball State students were charged with theft and institutional mischief.
Rubbing Frog Baby's nose continues as a tradition among Ball State students today, in addition to showing it love by dressing the sculpture up year-round.
The joyous girl holding a frog in each hand can often be found decorated in Cardinal gear or a scarf and hat in the winter to keep her warm.
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