Class of 1882 Dedicatory Fountain
The traditional class emblem, or memento, has often been either a pin or a ring. The class of 1882 wanted to do something different. After much debate, they decided to dedicate a fountain to the university in honor of their graduating class. The fountain that stood in the lawn of South College not only served as an emblem for the class of 1882, but represented the gratitude the graduates felt, and would continue to feel, for their alma mater.
When the class of 1882 was holding meetings to discuss their legacy, a general feeling of discontent with Massachusetts Agricultural College, also called Mass Aggie hung around the campus. In the 1882 Index, the college’s yearbook, it is described that though the school made superficial improvements to the campus, they were not improvements that “should dignify a State institution.” Buildings had received new coats of paint and tar walkways were laid out across the campus, but the students felt that the college should be doing more to distinguish itself. The editors of the Index point to the low numbers of freshman applicants, the lack of discipline among the students, and the possibility to improve the returns of the campus’s farm. They believed that if improvements could be made in these areas, then the school would receive the recognition and dignity it deserved. It is in this sour mood that the students of the class of 1882 decided to give something back to their beloved Mass Aggie.
In the spring of 1880, during the third term of the class’s sophomore year, it was agreed upon to raise the necessary funds for a memorial fountain. The total cost for the fountain was two hundred fifty dollars, the money for which was quickly raised. The class chose the then well known J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York to build the fountain. The fountain was quickly completed and delivered to the students by the end of the same spring term in 1880. The fountain was described as having a thistle and crane design, with a boy and a duck near the top. It was made of bronze and stood eight feet six inches tall. The fountain stood in a masonry basin measuring twelve-feet in diameter, and was placed in the center of the lawn in front of South College.
As stated before, the fountain was meant to symbolize the gratitude the class of 1882 felt for their alma mater. Such gratitude was elegantly stated by one of the orators at the fountain’s dedication ceremony on June 22, 1880:We now have an added incentive to point out the way and hold us up to our duty, such as we have never had before: for as the fountain throws its stream upward and never ceasing, so may our course be ever upward and onward, reflecting credit and honor upon the beloved institution, until at last it may be truly said of each of us, “the world is so much better because he lived in it, and the foundation of his good work was laid at the Massachusetts Agriculture College.”
The fountain served as a reminder to all following classes of students at MAC to be thankful for the opportunities that an education at this institution had provided them, and to go out into the world in such a way that would make their alma mater proud. Unfortunately, the fountain no longer serves this purpose as it has been dismantled and is now stored in the basement of Goodell Hall. Perhaps, in the future, the fountain will once again be part of the campus’s landscape to influence future students.
- Date Added
- August 31, 2012
- Central Campus
- Item Type
- Still Image
- “Class of 1882 Dedicatory Fountain,” Lost UMass, accessed December 7, 2023, https://lostumass.omeka.net/items/show/29.