Points of Interest

The Flame

The Flame (1969), is an 11-foot, 2,000-pound bronze sculpture by Belgian artist John Somville and alumna Dottie Smith, Centre Class of 1969, symbolizes the lamp of knowledge on Centre’s seal. Smith donated The Flame in honor of Centre’s 150th anniversary and in memory of her father. “Running The Flame” is a popular (late-night) campus tradition.

Centre’s first large scale sculpture, the 2,000 pound, eleven-foot high bronze monument was dedicated in 1969 in celebration of the college’s Sesquecentennial Year, and is a symbolic representation of the torch of knowledge which appears on Centre’s official seal. The artist originally constructed a full-scale plaster model, which was then shipped to Clarkston, Michigan, and cast at the Fine Arts Sculpture Foundry. The project was financially supported by Dorothy Jane Smith ’69 in memory of her late father Ray Smith. John Somville, a native of Brussels, Belgium, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Geneva, Switzerland, and was an art instructor at Centre. He was assisted in the project by Ms. Smith and John VanArsdale, both art majors.