Somewhat nearer to Widener than to Boylston Hall squats a dragon, his squarish maw gaping in anger, or majesty, or perhaps in pain. On his broad back rests an erect ten-ton marble slab, inscribed with attractive Chinese figures. Fashioned in Tientsin, he was shipped to this country by Chinese alumni in China, to be presented on the second day of Harvard's Tercentenary celebration in September of 1936.
An elderly lady remembered the stone creature's dedication. "It was a terribly rainy day," she recalled, "and I can still see President Roosevelt sitting up on the platform, holding an umbrella over his head. He looked so forlorn." Proceedings apparently went smoothly, however.
The presentation speech was delivered briefly and succintly by Mr. Fred C. Sze '18, Harvard Club of Shanghai. Midway in his speech he said, "I would not have done justice to this occasion if I should fail to tell you that the benign influence of Harvard has spread to the far shores of Cathay." He went on to say, "At one time it was even whispered in Nanking that a so-called Harvard clique was active in Chinese politics. Clique or no clique, I can assure you the fair name of Harvard was not blemished in any way, shape or manner."
The words inscribed on one side of the erect slab bear humble tribute to Harvard from her Chinese alumni in China. John Harvard is held up as an example of the kind of men who realize education's role in building for the future of nations. Harvard, it says, is the ideal manifestation of such a man's efforts.
Although unintelligible to most, these mystic calligraphs seem to bring the flavor of the fabled East to prosaic Harvard Yard. The dragon's crouched readiness, with his thick neck thrust defiantly forward, is an impressive sight. Ivy in relief climbs the marble's side, reaching for the top, fourteen feet away. And on the rear, in letters worn by the hand of time, appear these words, "Don was here."