On many college campuses, outdoor fountains serve as backdrops for photo-worthy memories: checking out the school with Mom and Dad before you’ve enrolled, skipping class with your dormmates or — finally! — getting that diploma.
Perhaps no place is the college fountain more iconic and beautiful than at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle.
Mount Rainier is visible from Drumheller Fountain at the University of Washington.
Photo: Flickr/Curtis Cronn
Drumheller Fountain provides a splendid view of Mount Rainier and, thus, is the most photographed spot on campus. On top of that, a family of ducks takes up residence in the fountain’s pond every spring. A specially designed ramp enables ducklings to waddle in and out of the pond until they’re ready to fly.
Aside from its role in the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Drumheller Fountain is known for its reputation as “Frosh Pond.” The fountain earned that nickname in the early 1900s, when it was a tradition for upperclassmen to toss freshmen into the pond, according to College Magazine. Today, you’ll be fined for jumping into the water, though.
Of course, you don’t have to wade around in Drumheller Fountain to appreciate its attractiveness and its place in UW’s history. Without having dipped our toes in the water, we appreciate Drumheller Fountain so much that we’ve put it atop our list of the 15 Most Picturesque College Fountains.
We chose the following fountains at four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. based on their eye-catching designs, their picturesque nature or both.
1. University of Washington
Why We Like It: Drumheller Fountain is a stunning fixture on what already is a stunningly gorgeous campus.
2. Ithaca College
Dillingham Center Fountains
Why We Like It: The fountains dramatically overlook Cayuga Lake, the longest of the Finger Lakes in central New York.
3. Indiana University
Photo: Elizabeth Melton Parsons
Why We Like It: Showalter Fountain, the centerpiece of Fine Arts Square, is surrounded by Indiana University Auditorium, the School of Fine Arts and the Lilly Library. Dominating the fountain is a sculpture of Venus, the goddess of love, being born from a clamshell, according to Bloomingpedia.org.
4. Occidental College
Los Angeles, CA
Photo: Occidental College
Why We Like It: A stainless-steel kinetic sculpture by George Baker forms the basis of this fountain/art installation, which appeared in “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” “Placed in a large pool at the end of the main entrance road to the college, the fountain has a commanding presence, its graceful lines, gentle motions, and continuously changing water patterns making it an unforgettable experience,” according to sculptor Eric Peltzer.
5. Florida Southern College
Photo: Florida Southern College
Why We Like It: Frank Lloyd Wright designed this one-of-a-kind, three-story fountain, which didn’t debut till 2007 — nearly 70 years after the famed architect first envisioned it.
6. University of Texas
Photo: Flickr/Jason St. Peter
Why We Like It: The fountain, a monument to University of Texas students and alumni who died in World War I, features Army and Navy soldiers on each side, with the goddess Columbia in the center, representing the concept of liberty. It was sculpted by Italian-born artist Pompeo Coppini. The iconic UT Tower stands behind the fountain, adding to the Kodak-moment status of this scene.
7. Florida State University
Photo: Florida State University
Why We Like It: Six life-size bronze statues of women anchor this fountain, representing “the university’s evolution from a women’s liberal arts college into the coeducational research university of today,” the school says.
8. Furman University
Why We Like It: Furman boasts several pretty fountains, but our favorites are the ones in front of Charles Ezra Daniel Memorial Chapel, which features four Georgian-style columns and a prominent steeple.
9. University of Arkansas
Fulbright Peace Fountain
Photo: University of Arkansas
Why We Like It: Consisting of sculpted bronze links atop a granite base, the fountain stands 41 feet tall and weighs nearly 12,000 pounds, the university says. It’s an impressive and imposing piece of art.
10. Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX
Why We Like It: A focal point of the campus, Frog Fountain “features four stylized lotus leaves, a motif chosen because of the historic association of the lotus with education,” the school says.
11. Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
Photo: Dave Umberger/Purdue News Service
Why We Like It: The 38-foot-high sculpture and fountain, built with about 228 tons of concrete, is one of the stops on a Purdue tradition — going on a “fountain run.” Whether you’re on a “fountain run” or not, this piece of art makes a bold statement.
12. University of Kansas
Chi Omega Fountain
Photo: BBN Architects
Why We Like It: Lovely flowers and landscaping encircle this intricately designed, English-inspired limestone fountain, located in front of the Chi Omega sorority house. The Chi O Fountain, as its widely known, was dedicated in 1955.
13. Bethany College
Gresham Garden Fountain
Why We Like It: As its name indicates, the fountain is surrounded by the gorgeous Gresham Garden. The fountain and garden enhance the entry to the Gothic-style Old Main, a national historic landmark built in 1858.
14. Regent University
Virginia Beach, VA
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Why We Like It: As noted by Complex.com, the fountain stands out because of its “true classical beauty. The design might not be innovative or aesthetically challenging, but sometimes it’s all about just being pretty.”
15. University of Houston
Cullen Family Plaza Fountain
Why We Like It: Built in 1972, the fountain (which has been undergoing repairs) sits in the heart of the University of Houston campus. “Passing by the expansive Cullen Family Plaza Fountain in front of the wonderfully art deco Ezekiel W. Cullen Building can be a delightful and calming experience,” according to CultureMap Houston.