by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
There’s no spot on campus quite like the trellis. Constructed in 2010 between the Quarry and Althouse Hall, it quickly became a favorite hangout for fair-weather brainstorms, study sessions, celebrations, readings, conversations and impromptu concerts—a nerve center for the scholarly pursuits and social ties that lie at the heart of Dickinson's academic community.
Now, the trellis has an official title, honoring those who support that community year in and year out.
The Mermaid Society Trellis is named for the Mermaid Society, members of the Dickinson community who have donated annually to the college for three years supporting scholarships, student-faculty research, athletics equipment, academic enhancements or any other aspect of the college through the Dickinson Fund or the endowment. The society, in turn, draws inspiration from the mermaid weathervane atop Old West, a beloved symbol of the college and well-known campus landmark that’s more than two centuries old.
The trellis was dedicated during a May 17 ceremony in honor of the 87 members of the class of 2016 who made their first gifts to the college and the more than 150 faculty and staff members who join forces with alumni, parents and friends of the college to build a Mermaid Society network that is 5,000 strong. Of these 5,000 members, 500 have given to Dickinson for at least 25 consecutive years, and 40 have supported the college for 50 or more consecutive years.
Speaking during the dedication ceremony, Neil Weissman, dean and provost, highlighted the vital role these Dickinsonians play in shaping students' experiences and thanked those in attendance for their loyalty and commitment to that cause. “When faculty, staff and students join alumni to support Dickinson, it is a powerful statement about the strength and belief in this institution,” he said.
Published June 8, 2016