Becker Family fountain unveiled

Daniel H. Becker Family Fountain Commons recently became the name of the fountain outside of Kilcawley Center. Photo by Austin Caroline / The Jambar

By Austin Caroline and Elizabeth Coss

The fountain outside of Kilcawley Center was recently renamed the Daniel H. Becker Family Fountain Commons on Sept. 14 in honor of Daniel H. Becker. 

The renaming of the fountain area was only part of the announcements released by President Jim Tressel. The name change came following the reveal of a $1 million endowment to the university. 

“One thing that you hope for your students when they go around campus … We’d like to exercise for them to learn about the names that are on buildings and things like that,” Tressel said. 

Tressel also hopes for faculty and students to enjoy and reflect at the fountain in a new light through Becker’s donation. 

“On behalf of all of us here, we appreciate the impact [this donation] will make on students,” Tressel said. “Not only do we pray that this will help a lot of students, but that students will continue to have great experiences out here.”

The endowment will be split amongst scholarships to students to fund their higher education careers according to President of the YSU Foundation, Paul McFadden. The money will also go into the continued maintenance of the fountain area. 

“That scholarship fund will provide $30,000 a year,” McFadden said. “It will be for students primarily from Struthers, Ohio, who are involved in community service, but it will impact multiple students.”

The scholarship will be given to a student who maintains full-time status and keeps a minimum GPA of 2.5, with a preference to students from Becker’s hometown of Struthers. 

“Part of the gift also provides an endowment that will provide funding to maintain the Becker Family Fountain Commons,” McFadden said. 

Before the endowment, Grounds would upkeep the fountain area through a budget granted by the university. 

Daniel Becker was at the fountain when the renaming was announced. He described feeling grateful to YSU. 

“I am still amazed. I had no idea that this was going to happen. I made a contribution to the university and then the naming came after. I’m forever grateful and appreciate that,” Becker said. 

Becker, who is semi-retired from his family’s funeral home business in the Mahoning Valley — which his grandfather founded, — attended the university during his undergraduate years before becoming an adjunct-faculty member in 1974 where he taught first-aid and personal safety courses until 1978.  

“It is very important to me that the kids have a place like this university. From the time I began here, [the university] has grown and changed and it’s so wonderful,” Becker said.

He also served in the Army as a paratrooper sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division until 1961. 

“When I came here, I was scared to death. I came out of the military where I felt I had a home,” Becker said. “Coming back here was frightening at first. Going to the university and once I got into the system and found out I was older than most of the kids. I could work with them, so we made it work.”

According to the University Archives, the fountain has been a part of YSU’s campus since 1966, when Kilcawley Center’s student union first opened.