The renovation of the iconic Meredith lake is complete thanks to the generosity of 1,400 alumnae and friends of Meredith College. The College is pleased to reintroduce this space on campus for all to enjoy.
“I share the joy so many feel about the return of our lake,” said President Jo Allen, ‘80. “Alumnae and friends have told stories of quiet contemplation, great naps, anxiety-reducing exercises for pre-test jitters, proposals and engagements, explorations with children and grandchildren (and dogs!), weddings, family reunions, guest speakers, commencements, and more. This is truly a special place, and I couldn’t be happier that today’s students–and tomorrow’s–will be able to enjoy it as so many of us have through the years.”
Donor gifts to the Meredith Fund and anonymous major gifts allowed McIver Amphitheater, on the west side of Meredith Lake, to once again be a beautiful backdrop for classes, productions, small gatherings, and other activities. The lake serves as a valuable on-campus resource for students conducting undergraduate research, and the lake water will be used to irrigate Meredith’s grounds.
The restoration also included the small island, thanks to a gift from Kellie Falk, ʼ85, and her classmates. A new bridge, bulkhead, benches, sculpture, and new plantings give visitors a place to sit and reflect. There is also a new fountain in the middle of the lake, and the dam has been increased in height and width to meet the 100-year storm calculations.
Meredith Lake was designed by landscape architect Dick Bell and completed in 1964. In March 2017, the lake drained because of the erosion of pipes and plumbing. At that time, alumnae stepped up during the annual Meredith Mayhem competition and raised funds to restore the lake. After unforeseen obstacles delayed the start of the project, work began in January 2021. Construction crews battled Mother Nature and unusually high amounts of rain as they excavated around the island to get a solid foundation for the new retaining wall. In some areas, crews excavated more than 12 feet down and added over 1,500 tons of stone to ensure the footing was solid.
The lake and McIver Amphitheater are a treasure to Meredith students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and visitors as a beautiful place to stop and reflect and many memorable traditions, such as Class Day, Cornhuskin’, Homecoming, and the Honor Code Ceremony happen in this serene spot.