UMD’s Fountain of Youth

Everyone knows about the beautiful and iconic fountain that complements McKeldin Mall, but can you imagine what the mall looked like before the fountain existed? In a Diamondback article from 1964, we get a glimpse as the author writes about the ugly swamp-like condition of the mall and even calls for the construction of a fountain to fix the problem.

Turns out that this student would get exactly what he wanted, although it took 25 years for it to happen. The 16 x 250 foot fountain that graces McKeldin Mall today was completed in 1991 and honors members of the campus chapter of the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society.  Each level of the fountain signifies one of the leadership qualities found in ODK members. The engravings around the walls of the fountain include quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr., and Franklin Roosevelt, as well as the ODK symbol, a listing of fraternity members from the university, and a plaque honoring donors who contributed to the construction of the fountain.

Today the fountain is one of the largest university symbols and a hotbed for student activity in the spring semester. Students love to sit out and relax by the fountain and will occasionally take their shoes off and wade in. Students have even wake-boarded on the fountains waters and constructed a hand-cranked ferry to cross from one side to the other.

ODK fountain

 

 

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