College Green landmark was a magnet for lovers

Ray Asik’s girlfriend, Sandy, sits next to a message he painted for her in the Kissing Circle on College Green at Ohio University in 1962.

In the 1940s and into the ’60s, Ohio University’s College Green accommodated more than studying and hurrying students. The Kissing Circle tradition began and evolved through the years.

The Kissing Circle is an area on College Green formed by four brick walkways’ intersection, close to what is now Chubb Hall. The first recognition of the circle by OU students consisted of a white ‘X’ painted on a green background. The rules were simple: any time a man and woman crossed the Kissing Circle at the same time, they kissed each other.

Though it wasn’t recognized by the university, the original Kissing Circle design lasted for several years until some fraternity members painted their specific colors over the X, starting a new tradition. The rules of the Kissing Circle remained except the space was then devoted to letters and colors of different sororities and fraternities. The painted symbols of each organization lasted for one week until a new group snuck out at night with paint and brushes.

In the spring of 1962, another tradition began when Raymond Asik, LTC, USAF (Ret.), B.S. Ed. ’63, decided to paint a message to his girlfriend, Sandy, instead of his fraternity’s letters. His fraternity brothers didn’t want to go out at midnight to join him in the tradition so he chose to paint a message for the woman he loved.

“I spent about four hours getting it done,” Asik said of the “To Sandy Love Ray” message he painted in the circle.

After sleeping for a few hours, Asik said he put on his tie and fraternity blazer and went to Voigt Hall, Sandy’s dorm, at 8 a.m.

“We usually went to Baker Center for coffee but she kinda thought something was funny because I was dressed in a suit at 8 o’clock in the morning on a Saturday,” Asik remembered. “I would, too.”

They walked through College Gate and over Asik’s special message, which lasted for a week. Sandy couldn’t believe Asik’s genuine gesture, and others were also shocked because they were so use to seeing sorority and fraternity letters, Asik said. The couple took pictures with the special message, and Sandy later showed all of her girlfriends.

In the late 1960s the Kissing Circle tradition started to wane as students began painting footprints and arrows on surrounding walkways, rather than the designated circle. A Post article published in October 1963 reported, “The OKKCC (Committee to Keep the Kissing Circle Clean) proposed that all art work be limited to the circle alone. It seems that a certain, overly-ambitious clan got carried away down the five walks leading to the Circle.” In the early 1970s, the Graffiti Wall, behind what is now Bentley Hall, replaced the Kissing Circle as a place to paint campus-wide messages.

“Things or objects have a purpose in their life and they serve a purpose for a period of time. It either morphs into something else or it gets changed, which is fine; that’s the way traditions start,” Asik said.

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