Graduating seniors who have been lamenting where they will have their pictures taken in their caps and gowns next month can now breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the chancellor and the president of the United States.A life-size picture of Frog Fountain will be displayed on matte vinyl during the graduation reception in Dee J. Kelly Alumni and Visitors Center on May 12, said Margaret Kelly, executive director for community projects, marketing and communication. Chancellor Victor Boschini said he came up with the idea of the picture after a trip to Washington, D.C.
“I noticed on several streets there were cutout pictures of President Bush that you could have your picture taken with,” Boschini said. “So I thought, ‘Why couldn’t we do this with Frog Fountain?'”
Kelly said the picture of the fountain will be about 9.5-feet tall and 17-feet wide and will be displayed in the Alumni and Visitors Center Ballroom.
A professional photographer will be available to take pictures of graduates in front of the display for free, Boschini said. Graduates can take pictures with personal cameras as well, he said.
Erica Bensik said she likes the idea of having the picture available at graduation.
“It won’t be the same as the real fountain,” said the senior English major. “But I’m glad I can get a picture in my cap and gown in front of the picture, even though it will be more of a joke.”
Boschini said the picture of the fountain will be on display in the Student Center for all students to enjoy and take their pictures in front of in May.
Now, Frog Fountain is being renovated at Kirby Sheet Metal. Rusty Kirby, company president, said two of the lily pads have been completely redone.
When the fountain arrived five months ago, Kirby said the structure was solid rust.
He said each lily pad held 9,000 pounds of water, which ran at a rate of 306 gallons per minute in the fountain. Kirby cited chemicals and pollution as the main reasons for damage.
Each lily pad will be covered in new steel, which will be sandblasted and coated with a protective powder to prevent rusting, Kirby said. Copper coating will be put on the fixtures 10 days before TCU is ready to have the fountain assembled, he said.
The protective coating should last 20 years, Kirby said.
Boschini said the fountain will be back on campus this fall after construction is complete on two of the new residence halls, set to open in August. He said the fountain will be more of a “hangout spot” with its larger basin and surrounding plaza.
It will take a few months to assemble the fountain, Boschini said, but it is expected to be running in October or November.
Frog Fountain was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Philips Sr. The San Antonio couple wanted the fountain to be a gathering place for students, according to an October 1986 Skiff article. Mrs. Philips had noticed the spot in front of the Student Center during a football game and told her husband a fountain would “look nice there.”
The four lotus petals were chosen for the fountain because the lotus of the Nile has been the symbol of education, according to the article.
Students in the TCU House of Representatives had 158 signatures on a petition questioning the donation of the fountain, according to a December 1968 Skiff article. Representatives wanted to explore alternative ways the $67,000 donation could be spent.
Representatives declined to forward the petition, Boschini said, and Frog Fountain was erected in 1969.
“The fountain is a beautiful focal point on campus,” Boschini said. “Everyone I’ve ever spoken to loves Frog Fountain.