student bathing in fountain

An Iconic Campus Landmark Returns


n a late afternoon last December, Spencer Skaling ’27 (pictured) found an easy way to clear his mind after studying all day for finals: He stood in the freezing waters of the fountain on Pellissier Mall.

Just a few months before, that wouldn’t have been possible. The fountain, which was completed in 1969, had been deactivated for seven years due to ongoing drought conditions in Southern California.

But with the implementation of a recycled water system, the fountain is running again. It was reactivated last October as part of the celebratory festivities for Strom C. Thacker’s inauguration as Pitzer’s seventh president. The reactivation was made possible after receiving approvals from Pitzer’s Student Senate and Sustainability Committee.

The fountain employs a recirculating system to use water responsibly. Falling water is captured in a catch basin hidden under the base, which is constructed of local rocks (affectionately known by some as “Claremont potatoes”). The fountain also recirculates fresh water, not gray or wastewater, which means that the fountain serves as an ideal spot for students to gather on hot days or, in Skaling’s case, to take an unexpected (and chilly) study break.