Goshen College has many squirrels on campus, but one new visitor is more zealous than most.

In the breezeway of the Good Library, a new sculpture is on display. Titled “Ambition” and crafted this year by John Peterink of Milford, Indiana, the piece is a fusion of steel, fiberglass and resin. It features a life-size squirrel hoisting an acorn (approximately the size of a washing machine) on its back.

The concept was based on Peterink’s yard being covered in acorns. In his artist’s statement, Peterink wondered, “Could a huge acorn trash can be a better fit for such a beautiful, natural setting?” 

When Peterink stopped by GC’s visual arts building on Nov. 14, he felt his work would fit better here after its time at the Midwest Museum of Art.

Fritz Hartman, director of the Good Library, has heard only positive feedback on the sculpture. 

“I get asked about it every other day in my capacity as director,” he said. “And every time someone stops me to ask, I assume they are going to complain about it somehow, but they don’t. People just love it. In short: it is a hit!”

If you have yet to catch a glimpse of the eye-catching acorn, don’t fret: “Ambition” will be on display until Feb. 1. The sculpture is on temporary loan to the college and there are no current plans for purchase.


A correction was made on Nov. 30, 2023: A previous version of this article mistakenly attributed a quote to Sara Method where she offered an interpretation and analysis of “Ambition.” Those words were not hers, but in fact an analysis and summary by this article’s author. That paragraph has been deleted from the article.