Campus News Blog: Did That Fountain Just Turn Purple? Thoughts On A Changing Campus

September 26, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Sam Todd

After studying in Paris and being away from SMU for a semester, I forgot how beautiful our campus really is. After a few weeks of walking to class and driving down the boulevard, I remember how nice it really is- and it reminds me of how much I loved it when I toured SMU as a high school-er.

But as SMU has turned up the heat on their “Second Century Campaign”, it seems like new buildings, fountains, plazas, walkways, statues and other structures are popping up everywhere I look. From the construction at the Meadows Museum and the completely rebuilt Perkins School of Theology to the south of campus, to the brand new building across from Hughes-Trigg on the north end, it seems that by the time I graduate I won’t even recognize the school where I’ve spent the last four years of my life.

But there is one recently finished addition to the campus that most people I’ve spoken to really don’t get: The Frank and Val Late Fountain. If the name of the fountain doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s the one by the Theta house that lights up. It was dedicated while I was abroad- so apparently I missed quite a party, which seemed to be the most boring event on SMU’s campus in recent history. Too bad I didn’t get an invite.

And… it just lit up.

Most people I’ve talked to can’t stand it. And not just because it lights up, but because it lights up in different colors, including purple. When you see it lit up in tones of fuchsia and blue, you can’t help but think “is THAT what my tuition money is going towards?” but thanks to the Late Family, I doubt any student’s tuition went towards it. It may be a very nice looking fountain, but let’s at least hope not.

Another friend of mine thought it was oddly placed, and that a fountain with so much “character” should have been placed more centrally on campus, but with the move of the mustang statue closer to the street and the new engineering buildings, it seems that SMU is trying to focus more on that part of campus. It makes more sense, as the majority of visitors come down Fraternity Row off the highway.

Regardless, as SMU enters it’s “second century”, things are changing here- but hopefully when I pass through the rotunda and jump on that seal this coming May, I’ll still remember it, and love it, for the same reasons that I did four years ago.