The idea for a monument to honor NC State alumni killed in World War I originated with Vance Sykes, a member of the class of 1907. Today, the 115-foot monument, called "a legend in stone," is a symbol of the university and a rallying point for the campus community. Constructed at a cost of more than $150,000, the tower is made of 1,400 tons of granite set on a 700-ton concrete base. Its blending of Romanesque features and Gothic verticality are reminiscent of the towers at West Point.
Although 34 alumni died in the war, the memorial plaque contains 35 names. George L. Jeffers, class of 1913, was wrongly reported killed in action and his name was included by mistake. When the error was discovered, the university decided to alter the extra name beyond recognition. It was therefore changed to George E. Jefferson, a symbol of unknown soldiers from NC State and elsewhere.