The 20-foot column supports a globe topped by a pelican, the symbol of Corpus Christi College. Inscribed around the base are these words from Samuel Butler's "Hudibras":
Loyalty is e'er the same
Whether it win or lose the game
True as the dial to the sun
Although it be not shined upon.
At one time, the Mather Sundial was the provenance of seniors, who by custom enjoyed the exclusive privilege of sitting on its steps between classes.