Hanover College has the Ohio River overlook, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has Speed Lake, and the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne has Mirror Lake. All three are striking, iconic features of those respective campuses.
Anderson University has a landscape gem of its own, and water has nothing to do with it. At AU they simply call it the Valley, a hilly, beautifully landscaped campus center generously but judiciously bedecked with trees of all varieties.
I was so fascinated with the Valley that I returned to it periodically so I could take it in from as many perspectives as possible as I made my way around. One of those perspectives is featured in the photo leading off this post, and you'll see a few more among the shots below.
AU is a Christian liberal arts school affiliated with the Church of God. It was established in 1917 as the Anderson Bible Training School and has undergone three name changes since -- Anderson College and Theological Seminary, Anderson College and finally, in 1988, its current Anderson University. The school hosted the training camp for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts from 1984-98 and again since 2010.
I've described many campuses I visited on my seven-year-long "Game Day" tour as compact; in retrospect, I suppose that should be a given. After all, these are small-enrollment institutions. But I think it's a valid term because most places on these institutions are easy to reach, and their accessibility is why buildings are where they are. At most schools, for example, the library and student union are somewhere along or around the traditional green mall. That is the case at AU, although the Valley substitutes for the traditional, flat central mall.
At AU, athletic facilities -- including the keystone athletics teaching facility, Kadetzke Wellness Center (right) -- and a handful of residence halls are on the northeast side of campus. A sizable green mall and the equivalent of about two city blocks of physical space separates that area from the rest of campus to the southwest, where the majority of other academic buildings, the fine arts and performance center and, yes, library and student union surround and overlook the Valley. As I write this, it is so vivid in my memory -- a good two and a half weeks since I visited -- that I was able to remember the general campus layout without referring to a map.
On the Fifth Street side of Decker Hall, the university has an eternal flame (left) that was dedicated in 1992 to commemorate the school's 75th anniversary. AU is preparing centennial observances and activities for 2017. The flame was originally designed to be part of the Helios sculpture, another campus icon, that is surrounded by fountains and overlooks the Valley outside Hartung Hall. In the end, the school dedicated separate spaces on campus to the flame and sculpture.
I came across various degrees of tailgating at all the colleges during my visits, which began in 2009. Schools that seemed to have the most tailgating activity and/or most enthusiastic tailgaters were Wabash, DePauw, Hanover, Taylor and Rose-Hulman. I should note that when I was at Rose-Hulman, it was homecoming weekend, which might account for a good share of the crowd sizes, gatherings and festivities on the grounds that day.
For a look at a full gallery of shots from my swing through AU's campus, visit my site at SmugMug.com. And as always, for a larger and sharper view of a photo, click on the image. This is especially important for people accessing the post from a mobile device.
Photo geek stuff: I shot all of the campus shots with my Canon 6D equipped with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens. I bracketed each composition for three exposures that I later melded to one in post-processing using Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software. I set my aperture to f/8 and my ISO at 320, using the shutter speed as my exposure variable. Occasionally I adjusted the ISO upward when confronted with predominantly dark lighting, such as the photos inside Kardatzke Wellness Center.
Above: For several years I've enjoyed photographing different benches as I come across them. This one and its twin in the background sit outside Kardatzke Wellness Center.
Above: A closeup of leaves on a plant just outside Olt Student Center's entrance from the Valley.
Above: The facade of the York Performance Hall and Galleries, which is adjacent to the Krannert Fine Arts Center.
Above: The steeple on Park Place Church of God, which had housed the university's music department until Krannert Fine Arts Center opened in 1979. The church still holds occasional university performances, and AU students use the church's pipe organ for practice.
Above: The Church of God Ministries' world headquarters had been located in this structure on Fifth Street on the Anderson University campus until this spring, when it moved to newer, but smaller quarters off I-69 at Pendleton.
Above: The Falls School of Business is located in this complex along Fifth Street.
Above : One of the arching roof and drainage panels near the dance studio adjacent to O.C. Lewis gymnasium.
Above: The main court inside O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
Above: The walk leading to Smith Hall near the athletic facilities in the northeast part of campus.
Above: Solar panels between the library and School of Theology.
Above: Nicholson Library, facing the Valley.
Above and below: Two views of Olt Student Center.
Above: One of the buildings in the York Seminary Apartments on the southside of campus.
Above: The Fifth Street entrance to Hartung Hall.
Above: It didn't seem right to end this post without one more look at the Valley.