In early 1995, Dr. Barbara G. King, an assistant professor of Reading, donated two swans to Clayton State. She apparently had gotten these two mute swans (that's the type of swan they are) from somewhere, and found she couldn't keep them on her own property. The first two swans were named Rhett and Scarlet. All was ducky until April 1997. Rhett and Scarlet nested and produced several eggs. Unfortunately, a stray dog (one newspaper article described him a "a Yankee") found the nest, and Rhett was killed by the dog while defending the nest.
One egg eventually hatched. It was named, "Bonnie." However, Bonnie disappeared after a few weeks, we think the victim of a snapping turtle.
Paul Bailey of Media & Printing Services conducted a fund-raising effort of campus to buy a new swan. That effort brought Ashley, named in a campus-wide contest, to Clayton State in June 1997. He seemed to get along swimmingly with Scarlet. Sadly, though, Scarlet died in July 1997, the victim of lead poisoning from swallowing a fisherman's sinker. (This is why fishing was eventually banned from everywhere but the dam area at the far end of the lake.)
Paul jumped back in, raised more money, made more phone calls, and then brought another female swan to campus -- Melanie (the name the result of another campus-wide poll). Like the GWTW Melanie, this bird proved somewhat sickly, and died (of natural causes, we think) in January 1999. Next up was "Belle" who joined us in February 1999.
Belle and Ashley hatched four eggs on Mother's Day 2000, which was just after the lake was officially named "Swan Lake." Dr. Brad Rice of Academic Affairs and John Shiffert of University Relations were instrumental in the lake-naming effort. That happened in an impressive ceremony on March, 20, 2000, presided over by Mike Vollmer.
Unfortunately, Ashley died shortly after the eggs were hatched in June 2000, also of lead poisoning from a fisherman's sinker. Three of the four cygnets died... the one survivor continues to float around Swan Lake with Belle.
In April 2002, the swans produced eggs once again and were protectively fenced from the ongoing University Center construction and foot traffic around the lake. After the mother swan's many long, hot days on the nest, the eggs failed to hatch.
Stay tuned for the continuing saga of Our Swans.
It’s no mystery that Clayton State is home to a diverse setting of students, but deep within the walls of this university a mystery, a secret is hiding, a secret that remains to be solved.
In 1969, Clayton Junior College was established and along with the college was a beautiful setting of trees and eight gorgeous lakes. Now, the difficulty when the college was built was that it was in mid January and Atlanta was in the middle of one of the worst winter storms in its history. By the time construction was able to begin several of the lakes were just beginning to loose their icy covers.
When the construction crews were digging to make room for the dam, an amazing discovery was found deep below the surface. What looked to be a large piece of rock was actually a large chunk of ice. No one thought twice about and just assumed it was ice and left it at that.
With the work picking back up and the huge ice rock lying off to the side, no one noticed that the ice began to crack. Upon returning to the dam where the ice had been left, the workers were astonished to find the ice had split in two and a hollow inside was left, as if something had hatched from within. Immediately, questions began to arise and concerns shot across the community. “What had been let loose?”… “Should we be afraid?” After the initial shock of what may have happened had worn off, life on the construction site resumed back to normal.
Several years passed by until this story was brought up again. In 1990, a strange string of occurrences began to happen. Several of the ducks around the campus were turning up dead, looking as if some animal had feasted them on. When the campus police was filming a portion of the duck crime scene, they saw on the tape that a large, shadowy creature was walking amongst the trees and disappeared in the lake. Now, what had the police concerned was what animal could walk upright and then live underwater as well. Chaos began to stir up around the school, and several media outlets were clamoring to get a piece of this story. Rewards were offered to any student who could capture this beast on film, and anyone who could retrieve this thing alive would be granted immediate completion of a bachelor’s degree.
Over the years hundreds of photos and video footage has turned up claiming to feature this famous creature of Clayton State, who has come to be known as Loch. While no solid proof has been offered to verify that this creature actually exists, many claim to have encountered Loch. Based on their accounts they say that he is in reality friendly, and just wants to interact with students, faculty and staff. This would explain Loch’s many sightings at Soccer and Basketball games and several other university functions.
So, what is this “Loch?” Is it a beast? Is it a friend? We may never find out the answers to all of our many questions, but it is worth the risk to find out. Is this the reason why this elusive creature has become the mascot of our university? Many students think it is, and maybe you should as well.