Although the day was cold and rainy, the dedication of the Gary Thomas Memorial Garden was one of the warmest events we've ever held on campus.  Thank you all for making this tribute possible for Gary’s family and for his legacy.  Attendees included Gary's widow, Barbara Tedesco, his sister, his brother, his son, his two daughters (and one son-in-law), his three grandchildren and his niece (the only other engineer in the family).

At the lunch with Gary's former direct reports and closest campus and community friends, his daughters said they felt they knew their father better now, having heard of his challenges and accomplishments from those people with whom he worked so closely.  A Student Council representative at the lunch -- who never knew Gary -- said she was proud of his legacy and that current students saw him every day in all he added to their campus.  Roger and Sandy Dorf graciously represented the Board at the lunch.

At the ceremony, Zeb spoke with great gratitude and kindness on behalf of the Board. Other speakers included Provost Wray, Gary’s niece and former city councilwoman Charlotte Wiggins who highlighted the many advances in the city of Rolla due to Gary’s initiatives. 

The garden includes a sun garden, a shade garden, two seat walls, a plaque, two of Gary’s favorite quotes etched into the circle of concrete on the pathway, and a fountain surrounded by granite boulders (where students sit and work on their computers or read textbooks each day).   Gary’s brother Don told Stephanie Martensen he was both surprised and pleased by the tribute to Gary:

When I first heard of the plans for the garden, I thought it was a fine idea and expected to see a quiet court yard near a science building with his name nearby.  I was astounded to see that his place was to be in the center of the campus near the entrance to the new engineering building.  However, after talking to the staff at S&T, it became clear that Gary was involved with projects that many people wanted to see developed, and that Gary helped people do what they knew that they could do.

With my thanks,
Connie