February 6, 1913
Tragedy struck at the new skating pond when five students sledding in the evening on Sunset Hill lost control of the toboggan and slid onto the lake, breaking through the thin ice. One student, Elizabeth Mylod’13, slipped under the ice and drowned, but another of the students, Phebe Briggs ‘16, using a small sled, managed to pull two of the others to safety. When the ice broke under her as she attempted to rescue the last student, Myra Hulst’13, Briggs used the sled to steady them and held Ms. Hulst’s head above the water until help came.
Ms. Briggs was one of 69 people cited on October 30, 1914, by the Carnegie Hero Commission for acts of heroism. In 1904, moved by the heroic rescue of a 16 year-old boy, the only survivor of a mine disaster in 1904 near Pittsburgh, and by the hardship inflicted on the families of those who died, Andrew Carnegie gave $5,000,000 to establish the commission, basing it in Pittsburgh.