Friday, November 23, 2012

Game Day: USF mirrored in its lake

While preparing for my first visit to the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind., as part of my ongoing project to visit small colleges in Indiana that field football teams, I went online and pulled up a map of the 107-acre campus, and one thing jumped out at me immediately:

Mirror Lake.

The body of water is the geographic heart of campus, and, in fact, divides it into almost even parts, east and west. The school so respects the lake's attributes -- not only does it gift the campus with wonderful aesthetics, but it is a resource for the university's biology laboratory classes and research -- that it provides just one crossing, to get from one side to the other, without having to go around it. And it's a pedestrian-only crossing at that.

And that struck me as wise.

The lake, I might add, is aptly named, as I'm certain the images in this post support. Many of the photos in today's post involve the lake and its reflective qualities. It was hard not to notice that or be attracted to it, and even more difficult not to exploit it in picture-taking. I landed there well past the prime autumn color season, and I couldn't help but wonder what it looks like in full color glory. Nevertheless, I did find a few trees with lingering color; one that comes to mind was the vibrant orange next to the Pope John Paul II Center. A picture of that tree next to the center appears in this post.

Leading off this post is the picture I felt best captured the mirror qualities of the lake while also involving as broad of a view of campus as possible, a view, I might add, that includes Bishop John M. D'Arcy Stadium -- site of Saturday's NAIA playoff game between Saint Francis and Baker University (a game won by Saint Francis) -- in the distant left background. It also involves, in the foreground, the paved trail surrounding the lake.

I arrived at Saint Francis about 90 minutes before the scheduled noon kickoff, and I found that almost enough time to cover everything I wanted. I would have wanted more time -- as I've found to be the case with all my visits -- but the Saint Francis campus is the most compact of those on my tour so far, and I reached nearly everything I wanted. The main omission was the Rolland Arts and Visual Communication Center on the extreme southeast corner. Also, while I walked behind Trinity Hall, the admissions building on the north end of campus, I never got around to its front to take a photograph.

While taking my self-guided tour, I encountered numerous instances of current students leading tours of small groups containing what I presumed were prospective students. As I finished my pregame campus photography and walked toward D'Arcy Stadium, I happened to walk alongside one of those groups. I heard the tour leader tell the prospects that Saint Francis is a "dry" campus -- no alcoholic beverages -- except on days of home football games, when consumption of such drinks by tailgaters is allowed.

Tailgating at Saint Francis appeared to be quite light compared to what I've observed at the other Indiana small-college campuses I've visited so far. Some tailgaters had amplified music playing, and in one instance it even was on the loud side. But I didn't find it offensive in the least, and the tailgaters seemed orderly and respectful. I was impressed to see, in a small portion of a parking lot close to the stadium, tailgating fans of Baker University, Baldwin City, Kan., which is about 20 miles due south of Lawrence, Kan., and about 50 miles southwest of Kansas City. Both of the very modest sets of stands at the game on the visitors' side of the field were nearly filled with Wildcats supporters who made the long trip.

For a full gallery of images from my self-guided campus tour of the University of Saint Francis, visit the "Communities" section of my site at SmugMug.

Above: A vista that was my favorite from the day's shoot and would have served as my lead-off image if it had involved more of the campus. This view from near the north entrance off Spring Street looks east toward the Pope John Paul II Center.

Above and below: The orange tree outside the Pope John Paul II Center and a backlighted composition of the nearby clock tower, stamping my photograph's time of capture at about 11:05 a.m.

Above: Not much to say ... a tree mirrored in the lake water.

Above and below: Lots of geese hang out at Mirror Lake, and these are separate scenes. The one above, looking west toward Bishop John M. D'Arcy Stadium, was taken at the south end of the lake. The one below was taken at least a half-hour earlier at the north end.

Above: A view northeast from behind the visitors' stands at the football stadium.

Above and next three below: Views of Brookside Mansion, an administration building and historic structure. The one above was taken with the light in a not-so-favorable late-morning position. The hand-carved sandstone Romanesque structure was the home of industrialist John Henry Bass from 1902-44, when the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration purchased the home and surrounding 65 acres from the Bass family then moved the university here from Lafayette, where it was founded in 1890. Bass was responsible for building the man-made Mirror Lake. 

Closeup of the statue of St. Francis in front of the Brookside Mansion.

Brookside Mansion once served as the full college, and later as the library and administration building. The library now is part of the Pope John Paul II Center.

Above and below: Benches on campus that caught my eye. They are not far from each other along the walkway behind Trinity Hall and near the Student Center.

Above: A sculpture near the Brookside Mansion.

Above: The recreational area inside the Student Center. 

Above: The Achatz Hall of Science includes a planetarium (right). 

Above and below: The main entrance to (above) and inside (below) of Hutzell Athletic Center, where the USF Cougar basketball teams play their home games. 

Above: Bonaventure Hall, to which the Pope John Paul II Center was added. The latter includes the Lee and Jim Vann Library. 

Above: The one direct crossing that allows passage from one side of the lake (and campus) to the other. This view looks toward the Pope John Paul II Center.

Above and next four below: Tailgaters, including -- in the last two of this series -- fans from Baker University.

Above: Entrance to Bishop John M. D'Arcy Stadium.

Above: The school's wall of honor to football players of the past. This is located in the area underneath the home team's side of the grandstands amid the concessions. 

Above: The Norkfolk-Southern line runs along the campus's southern perimeter.

Above: A bucolic scene looking west from the top row of stands in Bishop John M. D'Arcy Stadium.

Above: One more composition from the north end of the lake, looking at the Pope John Paul II Center.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful campus, and the captures of Mirror Lake are stunning!

    Hope you had a joyous Thanksgiving.