Remarks given by Florence Andersen '57 at the
Dedication of the Alumni Memorial Garden
June 5, 2005
Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for attending Skidmore College’s dedication of the Alumni Memorial Garden.
From William Wordsworth’s beautiful and meaningful poem “Imitations of Immortality,” on this day of dedication:
Of splendor in the grass, Of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind…
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind."
Three years ago at the class of 1957's 45th graduation anniversary, four of us resolved to create on this spot a place of remembrance and contemplation, honoring the memory of deceased alumni and friends of Skidmore College. For us four it has been a labor of love. Please meet my three classmates and dear friends who contributed so much of their talent, time and toil to bring the Alumni Memorial Garden's dreams to reality:
- Betty Hartz Hewitt
- Barbara Mansfield Saul
- and Marge O'Meara Storrs
Joining us in their mission were other alumni who added immeasurably to the beauty of this garden. If ours was a labor of love, theirs was a demonstrable expression of love through various art forms, honoring deceased alumni:
- The magnificent statues, Bhumi Devi, the Earth Goddess, the goddess of the cycle of life, is an original work of art, expressly made for the garden, by Barbara Strook Kaufman, class of 1940. Yes, she is 86; 85 when she completed this masterpiece.
- The eight exquisite urns are original pieces created by Jill Fishon-Kovachick, class of 1981, with carvings depicting life's cycle done by Lesley Ferst, class of 1976, a visiting assistant professor in Skidmore's art department. No two urns are exactly alike. They vary in shape and size, aged in earth tones to perfection.
- Two of the benches are a gift from John Danzer, class of 1975 and owner of Munder-Skiles, a company specializing in exterior teak furniture.
- Repairs to areas of the stone wall, the entry steps, and development of the handicapped accessible ramp is the work of Christopher Gregory, class of 1994.
- Mary Solomons, director of donor relations, who brought her intelligence, experience, and enthusiasm to this project;
- Richard Bussert, supervisor of facilities services, who is our go-to-man to get the job done, but more importantly to get the job done right;
- Tracy Barlok, campaign director, who introduced us to Barbara Strook Kaufman, taking Betty Hewitt to meet Barbara at her studio in Woodstock, Vermont;
- Gus Fleming, grounds keeper, who cleared the area of overgrown shrubs and thorny rose bushes;
- Glen Cline, grounds keeper, who keeps a watchful eye on the garden by watering, weeding and helping us plant the larger shrubs;
- and Tom Smith, mason, who completed the permanent placement of the cobblestones around each quad.
Besides the professional staff, we had the help of family members – planting, weeding, watering and taking pictures:
Betty Hewitt's husband Ed
Mary O'Meara Storrs's husband Ted
Bill Baumann, my nephew
And our honorary chair of this committee and Skidmore's first lady, Marie Glotzbach
And so too is our appreciation extended to the many alumni and friends of the College
who provided financial assistance in remembrance of those deceased alumni who contributed
in large and small ways to Skidmore's promise, character and vision.
From 2002 until 10 days ago we stripped the area of overgrown rose bushes, yews, greenery, weeds and weeds and more weeds. With the area cleared, we began the process of embracing the cycle of life theme for this garden.
- Crushed stone encircles the entire garden.
- Each of the four quadrants is enclosed by cobblestones engraved with several decades of classes:
- North quad 1903-1940
- East quad 1941-1970
- South quad 1971-2000
- West quad 2001-2025
- Within each quadrant is a dogwood tree surrounded by azaleas, day lilies, irises, rhododendrons and ground cover, the latter which the deer have eaten at leisure during two winters.
- And finally, the entire area is lit at night with lights focused on the four dogwoods and Bhumi Devi.
There is a flowering plant blooming by the cobblestone of 2005. Two days before graduation
the president of '05 and the president elect of '06 joined me in welcoming '05 to
the garden. It will be a tradition that each succeeding senior class president will
plant flowers before graduation at that class's stone.
The Alumni Memorial Garden is Skidmore's acknowledgement of its love for its cherished and beloved deceased alumni and friends of the college. This day of dedication, June 5, 2005, of this place of contemplation and remembrance is the realization of Wordsworth's ";Of splendor in the grass, Of glory in the flowers."