The History of the Milton Hershey School Fish Fountain
More than fifty years ago, Milton Hershey School designed a building that could both be a lasting tribute to the school’s founders, Milton and Catherine Hershey, and a central location for the MHS community to gather. These plans included a fish fountain at the front entrance of the building to greet visitors and welcome the MHS family.
The fountain’s underlying design concept created by Aristides Demetrios, an award-winning sculptor from San Francisco, was a symbolism of playful nature at MHS.
Demetrios and MHS President Dr. John Hershey met to discuss the fountain and decided that a school of fish leaping out of the water would best represent the joy reflected in the student body of the school. This playfulness, which now represents both boys and girls, can be seen from many vantage points with each one framing a different facet of the design.
Last year, Demetrios shared with the MHS School History department the concept for the fountain, “As I recall, when I was proposing ideas for the fountain, the individuals with whom I worked suggested the idea of fish, to complement the water theme of the fountain. I also thought that the boys would relish in the idea of fish hypothetically jumping outside the fountain.”
The fountain sculpture named “Oceanus” is made of copper with bronzing and native limestone. It consists of 53 fish including flounder, tuna, and pre-historic dolphin. The fish fountain was recently refurbished as part of the Founders Hall Renovation Project and the fish are currently off-campus being cleaned after years of welcoming guests to Founders Hall.
The Patriot News reported on Sept. 13, 1970, that the fountain “has no rival as a fountain in Central Pennsylvania.”