The dream of a sculpture garden arose over twenty years ago from the rubble of a worn-out auditorium razed to make way for a new one. Including sculpture in the plans for the new building was suggested to Chancellor Kenneth R. Williams. He spoke with Gordon Hanes, a former trustee, who became enthusiastic about establishing an area for outdoor sculpture around the new auditorium. The Hanes Foundation provided landscaping for the project and, in 1981, Gordon Hanes proposed that the first piece of sculpture should be chosen through a national competition funded by him and conducted by the university.

Jurors for the first competition were artists Selma Burke, David Driscoll and Richard Hunt. Mel Edwards of New York was the finalist chosen to create his twelve-foot stainless steel sculpture overlooking the front of the auditorium. It was installed in 1983.

The judges of the second competition, held in 1984, were museum curators David Collens of Storm King Sculpture Park, Jean E. Feinberg, who is now with the Cincinnati Museum of Art. The unexpected result was that the works of all three finalists were commissioned for the campus. A three-part stone work by Beverly Buchanan and a wood sculpture by Roberto Bertoia were installed early in 1985. A large cor-ten steel sculpture by Tyrone Mitchell, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, was placed in the courtyard of the new business school by the fall of the next year.