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Five Things You Didn’t Know About Jim Henson’s Time as a Terp

On Muppet Maker’s Birthday, Take a Seat—and a Pic

By Liam Farrell

Jim Henson statue

Photo by John T. Consoli

The statue of Kermit the Frog perched on a red granite bench with creator and Maryland alumnus Jim Henson was dedicated in 2003.

The late Jim Henson ’60 would have turned 82 today, and his timeless creations are still solidly part of pop culture—and our campus.

Just take a look at last week’s viral parody of the upcoming “A Star Is Born” remake, which spliced together footage of Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppets. Or walk by the Stamp Student Union, where the bench with a statue of the famed Muppeteer and his favorite frog is a popular place for pictures.

Take your own selfie with the bronze birthday celebrant today and post it with #HappyHensonDay, and brush up on your trivia about one of the university’s most famous graduates with some facts about his time in College Park.

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1 Jim with orig Kermit geraci
1. Henson, who graduated from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School in 1954 and enrolled at UMD, was struggling with grief over his sick grandfather a year later when he found solace in his creative instincts. A home economics major, Henson cut up a faded, felt turquoise coat that belonged to his mother and glued two halves of a Ping-Pong ball to the top. The puppet that evolved into Kermit was born. (Photo by Philip Geraci Collection in the UMD Archives)


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