Indiana State University Newsroom

Buttonwood sculpture symbolic of university, Scott College of Business

September 18, 2012

There is plenty of symbolism behind a new sculpture in front of Indiana State University's Federal Hall, the former Federal Building in downtown Terre Haute that serves as the new home for the university's Scott College of Business.

"Under the Buttonwood," a stone carving of a buttonwood leaf, commemorates a 1792 meeting beneath a buttonwood tree on Wall Street in New York City where 24 stockbrokers signed an agreement establishing the New York Stock Exchange.

"Buttonwood trees are now more commonly known in the U.S. as sycamores, which are featured in the state song of Indiana and, of course, serve as the nickname of Indiana State's athletic teams," said Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College of Business. "Just as this sculpture commemorates the birth of Wall Street as the hub of world financial markets, it also commemorates the dawn of a new era for the Scott College and a new foundation in learning made possible by this beautifully renovated facility."

An anonymous gift to the ISU Foundation made the sculpture by Tell City artist Greg Harris possible.

"This is philanthropy at its finest: a generous gift made without concern for personal recognition for the purpose of giving back to an alma mater," said Jack Fox, director of development with the Indiana State University Foundation. "The fact that the stone was pulled from the same quarry from which the Federal Building was built, the rich story of the Buttonwood Agreement, and its creator being an Indiana native, makes this a truly meaningful gift to Indiana State."

For years to come, Fox said, many Scott College of Business graduates will likely pose beside the statue with family and friends at commencement.

Photo: - This stone carving by Tell City artist Greg Harris in front of Indiana State University's Scott College of Business at Federal Hall commemorates the 1792 "Buttonwood Agreement" that lead to creation of the New York Stock Exchange. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Contact: Jack Fox, director of development, Indiana State University Foundation, 812-514-8458 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or