Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Dedication Edition

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 34,500 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Next Monday, April 24th, marks the 62nd anniversary of the dedication of the Chi Omega fountain.

Photograph of the Chi Omega fountain dedication ceremony, 1955

Photograph of the Chi Omega fountain dedication ceremony, 1955

Photograph of the Chi Omega fountain dedication ceremony, 1955

Photographs of the dedication ceremony for the
Chi Omega fountain, Sunday, April 24, 1955. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Chi Omega Fountain 1955 Negatives:
Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos). Click images to enlarge.

The speakers, from left to right, are Ethel Murphy Filkin, Jessie Parker Filkin, Nellie Barnes, Mrs. E. J. Wilson (Chi Omega housemother), Dorothea Engel Thomas, Jim Bass, Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy, Gretchen Guinn, Father Andrew Berry, and Rev. A. G. Parker.

The Lawrence Journal-World reported on the ceremony the day after it occurred.

The Chi Omega sorority fountain, located at the west end of Jayhawk Drive at Kansas University, officially was dedicated and presented to the University in ceremonies Sunday afternoon at the fountain circle. Approximately 300 students, Chi Omega alumnae and K.U. officials attended the event.

Gretchen Guinn [KU journalism junior], Delmar, N. Y., president of Lambda chapter of Chi Omga, presented the structure to K.U. and Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy accepted it.

In receiving the fountain Dr. Murphy said, “It represents another step in the beautification of the naturally beautiful K.U. campus. The fountain shows the University is interested not only in utilitarian things but in beauty as well.”

“The fountain was copied from a structure in front of an 18th century manor house in Northumberland, England. It was selected because it harmonized with the Chi Omega house which is of English design.”

Mrs. C. Y. Thomas, Kansas City, Mo., gave the greeting from the alumnae and introduced two of the founders of Lambda chapter, Mrs. Roy S. Filkin, 1800 Ind. St., and Mrs. Walter Filkin, Olathe. She also introduced Nellie Barnes, assistant professor of English who did the research on mythology connected with Chi Omega sorority, and Jim Bass, the man [KU fine arts senior] who designed the mythological figures on the lead tank.

The invocation was given by Rev. Albert G. Parker, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. Rev. Andrew W. Berry, Episcopal student minister, gave the benediction.

Sunday’s activities brought to a conclusion a drive which began in the fall of 1952 at the 50th anniversary of Lambda chapter. Mrs. Warren Woody, Wilmette, Ill., originated the idea for the fountain and led the drive for funds. She was unable to attend the dedication.

Actual work on the fountain began last fall and it was completed more than a month ago. Erkins Studio in New York City designed and constructed the structure and Constant Construction Co. installed it.

Total cost of the fountain was $11,793.88. Chi Omega alumnae contributed $5,000 and the remainder of the money came from the Elizabeth M. Watkins fund of the K.U. Endowment Association.

Photograph of workers finishing the Chi Omega fountain, 1955

Workers finishing the Chi Omega fountain, 1955. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Chi Omega Fountain 1955 Negatives:
Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

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