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Skidmore College

Honoring Phyllis Roth, a "masterful gardener"

May 22, 2014

Honoring Phyllis Roth, a "masterful gardener"

May 21, 2014

Roth Garden dedication ceremony
Charles Joseph speaks at Roth Garden dedication.
Seated: Susan Kress (left), Philip Glotzbach, and Ruthie
Holmes. (Photo by Phil Scalia)


Gathering in bright sunshine at the eastern end of Scribner Library, friends and colleagues of Phyllis Roth dedicated a garden in her memory Tuesday afternoon.

It was a fitting tribute to an expert gardener and a woman who, in 34 years of service to the College as professor of English, dean of the faculty, and acting and interim president, had done so much to cultivate the growth of new academic programs.

“Hers was a panoramic view and I believe she was especially exhilarated by the collective strengths and notable growth evident across so many academic programs during her deanship,” noted Charles M. Joseph, professor emeritus of music and chair of the department of music during Roth’s tenure as dean.

“How appropriate that we will think of Phyllis every time we walk through this memorial garden,” he continued. “After all, a garden is about growth. It’s a welcoming place where one witnesses blossoming, evolution, life and the beauty of change. As a friend, a teacher, a mentor and an administrator, I will always admire Phyllis as one who loved cultivating the sometimes-complex multi-layered soil of educational transformation. What a masterful gardener she turned out to be.”

Roth, who retired in 2010 and died in 2012, played an integral role in developing the vision of the Tang Museum, that “wonderful and signature institution,” said President Philip A. Glotzbach. He also praised the contributions she made toward strengthening the connection between retirees and the College, including the establishment of the Roth Retirement Initiatives Fund.

The ceremony, which included remarks by Susan Kress, retired dean of faculty and Roth’s former colleague on the English faculty, and Ruthie Holmes, Roth’s daughter, was a capstone to the memorial service at which the College celebrated Roth’s life and contributions to Skidmore on May 5, 2012. A booklet compiling all of the tributes offered at that service was distributed at the service. For a copy, email Bob Kimmerle, director of community relations.


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