sealPurdue News

April 13, 2001

Reamers Club sing-along ceremony rededicates Lions' fountain

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Steeped in lore, serenaded by song and a symbol of Purdue University school spirit and tradition, the Stone Lions' Fountain roars back to life Sunday, April 22.

The rededication ceremony and sing-along begins at 9:30 a.m. at the fountain, located near the southeast corner of Stanley Coulter Hall next to Wetherill Laboratory of Chemistry along Centennial Mall.

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The restored drinking fountain's waters will flow again thanks to the Reamer Club, whose members raised $48,500 from 203 club alumni, friends, corporations and other Purdue enthusiasts to complete the project. The student organization is known for being the keeper of school spirit and caretaker of the Boilermaker Special, Purdue's locomotive mascot.

"So important are the Lions to Purdue University that their lore has been permanently woven into the heritage of our university," said Reamer alumnus Max Bales, former director of class gift programs for Purdue and now assistant director of development for the School of Agriculture. "It is fitting that the keepers of Purdue lore and guardians of school spirit have chosen themselves to be the caretaker of this treasure."

In addition to the renovation work, a plaque commemorating the rededication and fund-raising effort will be installed at the fountain.

Until it was dismantled for restoration in March 2000, the Stone Lions' Fountain was a club focal point. For decades, members entertained classmates, faculty and visitors, earning both the club and the fountain a place in university history.

From its earliest days, the Reamers gathered at the fountain for biweekly "Lion group sings," choosing from a repertoire of more than 30 songs and cheers about Purdue handed down through the years. That tradition, group singing during pledge times in the spring and fall semesters, resumes with the April 22 ceremony.

Reamer member Jessica Sawyer, of Bucksport, Maine, a sophomore in pharmacy and co-chairperson of the fund-raising drive, said the renovation project was proposed and initiated in 1998 in conjunction with the club's 75th anniversary.

"Amber Fredrick, the first Lions' project chairperson, was the reason that the fountain renovation was started," Sawyer said. "It was her idea to turn the Lions' fountain back into a drinking fountain. As the head of the 75th anniversary committee, she started the fund-raising drive. Her excitement gave this project its momentum."

Frederick, a 1999 animal science graduate and graduate student, said she and her sister, also a former Reamer, discussed "doing something grand" to commemorate the club's anniversary. She said the project's success shows how dedicated the Reamers are to Purdue.

"So many alumni, many from the 1940s and '50s, were very happy that we are keeping the traditions alive," she said. "I'm looking forward to that first drink from the fountain, too."

The drinking fountain, a gift from the Class 1903 with the help of $600 from a student fund, became a fixture on campus when it was dedicated in 1904. According to Reamer history based on varying alumni recollections, the fountain's waters were turned off between 1923 and 1931. No documentation exists as to when the fountain actually went dry.

And while the fountain may have dried up, stories, myths and traditions surrounding the Lions never did.

"Each generation of our student body has added to, and familiarized themselves with, the sacred stories that surround this wonderful sculpture," Bales said.

One story insists that if a man and woman kissed under the bell tower of old Heavilon Hall and then strolled past the Stone Lions, they would marry each other, Sawyer said.

Fredrick herself will enter that body of stories. Her fiancé, Dean Brad, a 1999 Purdue entomology graduate working on his master's degree, proposed to her at the fountain in November 1999. The couple will be married June 23.

Restoring the fountain adds another chapter to the Reamers' legacy. The club constitution, ratified in 1923, charges the group with engendering "the good will and cooperation of all groups" on campus, which began the club's tradition of participating in spirit-raising activities.

The Stone Lions' Fountain restoration project committee worked in cooperation with the University Development Office to raise funds. In 1998 the renovation cost was estimated at approximately $45,000.

Bales, Kenneth A. Eichenberger, chairman of the fund-raising committee, together with John Collier, university landscape architect, coordinated the work. Don Scharer Masonry Inc. completed the lions' heads reconstruction and masonry work. Plumbing was restored by Ed Grace division of Shambaugh and Son.

Sources: Jessica Sawyer, (765) 743-3540;

Kenneth Eichenberger, (765) 495-5665;

Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073;

Other sources: Amber Frederick, (765) 449-0460;

John Collier, (765) 494-6882;

Max Bales, (765) 494-8672;

Jim Blume, a Purdue physical facilities employee and project team member for the Stone Lions Fountain, prepares to flush the newly installed water lines in preparation for the drinking fountain's return to service. The fountain, a gift from the class of 1903, will be rededicated with stories and song Sunday, April 22. The restoration was made possible by the Purdue Reamer Club, whose members raised funds for the project. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger).
A publication-quality photograph is available at the News Service Web site and at the ftp site. Photo ID: Sawyer.lions

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