The plaza's design features a circular walkway and curved stone wall, centered around an artistic representation of a warrior�s shield, symbolizing honor and sacrifice. The shield's surface is carved with a "rippling water" effect, to evoke a feeling of tranquility.
The curved wall bears the inscription of a Greek phrase, believed to have been spoken by Spartan mothers to their sons before battle, meaning, �With it [your shield], or on it."
Witt noted that according to ancient Spartan tradition, a warrior was never without his shield -- he either returned home from battle alive, carrying his shield, or dead, carried upon it by his comrades.
The plaza�s curved wall is named to honor Murphy, a 1998 liberal arts graduate and a Navy SEAL. He received the U.S. military's highest decoration posthumously for his actions in 2005 during the war in Afghanistan.