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New fountain added to entrance of SMC student center

Mandi Stirone | Thursday, August 31, 2006

After years of work on the new Saint Mary’s student center and dining hall, the final touch has been added in the form of a three-paneled fountain and sculpture to promote the ideals of the Saint Mary’s community.

Every depiction on the “Our Lady Seat of Wisdom” sculpture has some meaning pertaining to the College or to Mary. The College initially began receiving proposals in late 2003 but had a difficult time finding a design that fit its need.

Until Saint Mary’s alumna Karen Heyl submitted a proposal, that is.

Vice President of College Relations Sharon Rodriguez paid a special visit to Heyl in Cincinnati. Heyl then submitted some drawings and was chosen to do the sculpture.

Adaline Cashore, director of Donor Relations, said the fountain’s actual production took longer than expected despite its inclusion in initial plans.

The “Our Lady Seat of Wisdom” sculpture welcomes students with an open hand, and holds a book, symbolic of wisdom. It is surrounded by seven doves that symbolize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to a description displayed by the sculpture. Other symbols include spirals on the bottoms of both the right and left panels, wheat on the left, assorted flowers below Mary’s image, seeds falling from her book and lilies on the right panel.

The fountain, which was donated by the Harold Graham family, sits in the entryway to the student center between the Noble Family Dining Hall and the Cyber Café. Two of the Grahams’ daughters, Mary Colleen Dow and Christine Gambs, attended the College.

Donors, primarily trustees, were influential in decision-making for the new building and were given the option as to where their donations would go.

From the beginning, student center plans included a sculpture and fountain focusing on Mary, the patroness of the College, Cashore said. The fountain was designed to enhance the school’s identity as a Catholic women’s college, she said.

Many students said that they like the addition to the student center.

“[It] adds peace and tranquility to the student center and makes it more of a place to get away from the craziness of college,” sophomore Lindsey Krawczun said.

Construction on the new student center began in 2005 following the completion of the new dining hall in 2003. The student center took the place of the old dining hall.