Gotta Love Mudd, Warts And All

Hi everyone, this is Hannah Larson with another blog post for you!

Headshot of a woman smiling at the camera with her chin resting between her thumb and index finger

Hannah Larson, HMC ’20

We love warts here at Mudd. No, not those warts you find on the bottoms of your feet after walking barefoot outside (although there are definitely people at Mudd who walk around outside without wearing shoes). No, we love those concrete square prisms that are placed systematically throughout all of our buildings.

Left: The right side of the photo shows a tall building that has lines of concrete bumps along one side of the building. Right: An archway has two pillars supporting the roof. Both pillars are covered in protruding squares called warts

Left: Sprague has long lines of windows bordered by warts running up the building. Right: The overhang outside of Kingston is held up by supports which are decorated with warts

Left : The right side of this photo shows part of a building where the roof sticks out over the walls. On the edge of the roof are concrete squares that stick out. Right: A front view of a building that has a covered pathway in front of it. The pillars holding up the roof of the covered pathway as well as the edge of the pathway roof and building roof all have protruding square warts on them

Left: An Outer Dorm (Linde Dorm) has warts on the edge of the roof. Right: The overhang, support pillars, and roof edge of the Platt Campus Center are all covered in warts.

In fact, we love these warts so much that they became our unofficial mascot. In addition to our official mascots, the CMS (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) Athenas and Stags, Harvey Mudd has Wally the Wart, our friendly anthropomorphic square prism mascot who can be seen in various line drawings, waving Harvey Mudd flags or unicycling around. One prospective student for the class of 2021 even crafted a clay version of Wally for the admissions office!

An anthropomorphic square prism smiles and crosses its legs, appearing to be sitting down

Polymer clay Wally the Wart, crafted by prospective Mudd student

These warts are inspiration for lots of our interesting architectural spots on campus. The story goes that when the Shanahan Center was designed, the architects took color samples of the warts around campus and used those to create the multi-colored tiles that cover the building.

A wall of a building with mauve, green, and tan alternating tiles covering the wall

One wall in the Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning shows the multi-colored tiles representative of Mudd Warts

The Shanahan also has a pathway on the northern side that is lined with old warts from Thomas Garrett, the building that used to be where the Shan is now. This pathway is a cool way to preserve the school’s history and reuse building materials, but many people walking by aren’t aware of the warty implications.

Left: A concrete pathway and a tree lined garden are separated by a short concrete wall covered in reddish square prisms Right: A close-up photo of some reddish-brown square prisms with plaques on them

Left: The pathway behind the Shanahan, leading towards the Founding Class Room and Admissions Office. Right: A close-up of some of the old warts, which also have plaques on them dedicated to different donors.

Our newest dorm on campus, Drinkward Dorm, also has a neat wart-themed architectural design! There are warts arranged on the sides of the building which, rumor has it, spell out a phrase in braille. Looking at one panel of Drinkward and using a newly downloaded Braille app, I determined that the warts and indented squares on the building spell out “MUDD WART”, an homage to our love for warts on campus. If you go in blocks of 2×3 rectangles, starting by looking at the raised warts and then inverted warts, you can see that the raised warts spell MUDD and inverted warts spell WART in braille.

 Left: A wall of a building. There are alternating windows and panels of raised and indented squares, called warts. Right: One panel of the wall has lots of raised and indented squares. If you read them as braille, they will spell “MUDD WART”

Left: One side of Drinkward Dorm is covered in bumps and indents reminiscent of Harvey Mudd’s Warts. Right: A zoomed in photo of one panel of warts. Looking at first the indented squares and then protruding warts in braille will read “MUDD WART.”

The words "MUDD WART" with a braille translation underneath

The braille text underneath the English translation of “MUDD WART.”

Although I am personally a big fan of all of the warts and wart references we have on campus, there are definitely some people who don’t pay as much attention to it. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry about it; after all, we wouldn’t you to be a worry wart! 😉