Class of 1969 funds Phase I of memorial garden project

Class of 1969 funds Phase I of memorial garden project

Nov. 1, 2019

In a weekend where they came “home to Howee” as Golden Scots, members of the Class of 1969 celebrated a legacy gift that will allow themselves and other alumni and friends to make Maryville College their final home.

Led by Class President Alan Cropper ’69 and reunion giving chairs Jim Moore ’69 and June Rostan ’69, the class of 1969 raised $46,724 against a goal of $45,000 to fund Phase I of the Memorial Garden at Maryville College project.

First announced in 2018, the garden project was designed by Helen Kuykendall (wife of Nathaniel Kuykendall ’71) and will be completed in phases. The first phase includes recognition space for alumni and friends, an informal gathering space, a short contemplative walking trail and a scatter garden – all located near the House in the Woods.

As additional funds are raised, the College has plans to expand the garden and walking trail and add a columbarium where ashes may be interred.

“We had a good committee that planned our reunion, and one of the members, Susan Ketchum ’69, set up a Facebook page and gave us the names of class members to call and email,” Rostan said. “It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends. That helped build enthusiasm for the reunion and for donating to meet our goals.

“For some of us, the Memorial Gardens location near the House in the Woods was important,” she continued. “Dr. Fay Campbell and his wife Edith lived there when he was Chaplain during our years at MC. He was a committed, lifelong pacifist and worked with the Student Christian Movement. They opened their home and hearts to students.

“For other classmates, it may be that the columbarium is an attractive option for their own memorials and ashes.”

Cropper agreed.

“Many classmates have moved around the country over the years and do not have plans for a permanent resting place, so having a ‘home’ at Maryville had much appeal to them, as it would for other alumni,” he said.

Rostan, Cropper and MC board of directors member Ann Little Rigell ’69 led groundbreaking ceremonies on the grounds of the House in the Woods during their class reception on Oct. 18.

“While serving as Alumni Board president and beyond, Ann was instrumental in this project -- from inception to fruition -- with her vision, dedication and leadership,” Cropper said.

During the weekend, total giving by the class surpassed $105,000 with a 30-percent participation rate. Among the milestone reunions, the Class of 1969 raised the most money. Rostan said she and other reunion organizers would like to see 60 percent of the class pledge or donate as part of the 50th Reunion/Bicentennial year (through May 31, 2020), adding that many were inspired to give after seeing the location of the memorial garden during the reception.

The class continues to work with Eric Bellah, director of development, on raising class participation totals. Bellah began working with the class last year.

“The Class of 1969 is a close-knit, entertaining class whose members have long supported their alma mater,” Bellah said. “It was an honor to work with them.”

Cropper said that since graduating 50 years ago, his class has been supportive of the College in numerous ways.

“Our class has ranked at or near the top in both giving and percent of giving each year,” he said. “Numerous classmates have participated at KT Week each year, and the Alumni Association Executive Board has been well represented with classmates over the years.”

Forty-nine classmates registered, and the reception/groundbreaking ceremony at the House in the Woods was “well attended and well organized,” Cropper said, adding: “Not only was it our Golden Scots reunion, but our classmate, Art Masker, was the recipient of the Alumni Citation. RT Lodge did a fabulous job hosting many of us, as well as doing a superb job with our dinner. Not to mention that the College had everything super well organized!”

Rostan described the reunion weekend overall as “inspiring and fun.”

“It was particularly exciting since it was the College’s Bicentennial,” she said. “Regardless of how long it has been since we’ve seen each other, we pick up where we left off … ties that bind.

“Maryville College changed us, and we changed Maryville College.”

Written by Karen B. Eldridge '94, Executive Director for Marketing & Communications


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”