By Kylie Stoltzfus
Millersville University hosted its first-ever Swan Drop fundraising event as part of the 2021 Homecoming Festivities. During Millersville’s homecoming festivities, 2,264 rubber swans were hoisted into the air by crane and dropped onto a larger inflatable swan, serving as a target for the drop. Proceeds from the event will go toward the restoration and upkeep of the campus pond.
Millersville’s beloved campus pond was purchased by the University in 1892. In the years since its acquisition, the pond has secured its spot as an iconic piece of the ‘Ville experience for students and alumni alike.
“This location holds a special place in so many hearts,” the official Swan Drop event website states. “There are alumni who met their future spouse on the bridge, current students who do their best studying on nearby benches, and faculty and staff who take walks around the pond over their lunch break.”
The pond is also home to the university’s resident swans, Miller and S’Ville, who in recent years have become the unofficial mascot of the university.
The pond at Millersville University carries a rich history with it. In 1894, an edition of The Normal Journal, a quarterly magazine published by the university, mentions the initial phases of construction, stating, “The grounds have been cleared and graded around the library building; the science building is now standing upon a terrace; and a beautiful lake has appeared as if by magic north of the baseball field.”
J. Wilkinson Elliot was the architect of the pond, hired out of Pittsburgh to complete the project. His vision for the pond included shrubbery and landscaping to highlight the features of Millersville’s campus. The Normal Journal stated, “When the banks are made to conform to the plan of the architect, and the trees and shrubs selected by him are planted, the grounds will be extremely attractive.”
In recent years, this iconic campus landmark has begun to deteriorate, requiring additional maintenance and care. The university’s development team decided to take action and create a fundraising event that would garner support and interest in pond upkeep.
Students, alumni and community members who made a financial gift to the Swan Drop fundraising event were given rubber swans to be included in the drop. Prizes are being awarded to event participants depending on which swans landed closest to the target during the drop. As of October 19, approximately $44,000 has been raised through the Swan Drop event to help restore the pond to its most attractive appearance.