Requiem for the Risman Plaza fountain

Bob Opper

It has stood for almost 40 years. And soon, it will stand no more. It has withstood numerous brutal storms in numerous brutal winters. But it will not be able to withstand its impending cruel fate.

It has been my companion since my arrival at Kent State in 1990. It has soothed my feet and spit in my face as it has soothed numerous feet and spit on numerous faces. I have known it for half its life.

It has provided a “rite of passage” every spring as each succeeding graduating class has taken one ,last shot at staking their claim upon Kent State by the soaping of it. It has become a tradition in a university devoid of tradition, other than the painted rock of front campus.

The rush of its cascades parrots those of greater waterfalls such as Angel Falls, Victoria Falls or Niagara. The sound is reminiscent of a spring torrent over a woodland escarpment.

It is a mass of concrete, metal and mortar. And yet it has a heart that it has shared with every Kent State student who ever took a lunch near it, sat with a loved one or found a good spot to read a book.

It is a landmark, a site to get a picture taken and a place to repose during the day.

To some, it is an art form. To some, it is ugly. To some, it is beautiful. It is Rube Goldbergian.

A letter of plea to the president of the university elicited a deflection to the whims of a landscape architect’s plan, as if the architect wielded more power than the president, as if an architect doesn’t design within parameters that are ordered.

And though it stands peripheral to the plaza and could be allowed to exist within proposed plans, its demise is imminent.

So the decision has been made.

It has stood for almost 40 years.

Take the time to say goodbye.

Bob Opper is a university library associate and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.