Standing over 12 feet tall and weighing over 5,000 pounds, Enormous Luther stands in Falde Plaza at California Lutheran University as a beacon of tradition and longevity.
The statue is an abstract representation of Martin Luther. It was donated to CLU by the graduating class of 1964.
According to the university website, the statue was conceptualized by CLU’s first sculpture professor, Sir Bernardus Weber.
Martin Luther was a German monk and Catholic priest as well as a reformer from the 16th century who began the denomination of Catholicism, known today as Lutheranism, which is the founding faith of CLU.
When Weber presented the idea for the sculpture to the class of ’64, the students were not sure how to react and these mixed feelings carry on to today’s faculty, students and staff.
Because of the non-typical representation of Luther, students have given this statue the nickname of “Gumby.”
Junior Brian Hix believes that Gumby is more than a statue.
“At least since my time here at CLU, Gumby has been an unofficial mascot of the university that a lot of my friends tend to associate with, more so than the Kingsman and Regal,” Hix said.
Gumby has quite the fascinating life. He watches over the campus community through every semester come rain or shine. Gumby has dressed up for Halloween and other events on campus, helping to solidify his position as an icon of CLU.
“I think that Gumby enjoys seeing the school… but he probably feels a bit left out of the social scene,” said freshman Victoria Butsky.
Gumby is displayed on CLU T-shirts, posters for events and even makes appearances in the Echo from time to time. Although Gumby is not an official mascot, he is proclaimed by students as one of the most iconic features about CLU.
“[CLU] is a place that doesn’t have a strong sense of tradition, but Gumby provides some of that. As a former student, it’s something I can relate to,” said Derek Rogers, alumnus and admissions counselor.
Rogers went on to say that Gumby must have seen many changes to campus over the past 50 years.
Karen Schomaker, coordinator for the Community Service Center, said that not only is Gumby “great for directions,” but it also serves as a symbol that offers joy to passersby and brings a smile to her face.
“I see Gumby as a friendly beacon on campus uniting us as the ‘CLU family,’” Schomaker said.
Gumby saw the construction and remodeling of the Ahmanson Science Building, the Samuelson Chapel and the Pearson Library. He supervised the demolition of the Student Union Building to make way for the Ullman Dining Commons, opening later this year. Gumby has seen CLU grow and develop and he will continue to stand watch over CLU for years to come.
Published April 30, 2014