As a bee buzzed through a crowd at the HUB-Robeson Center on Wednesday, a fitting Penn State 2019 Class Gift was announced.
The Class of 2019 selected an entry gate to The Arboretum at Penn State’s new Pollinators’ Garden. Construction on the garden is slated to begin early next year.
“In choosing to enhance the Pollinators’ Garden with an entry gate, the Class of 2019 has expressed its deepest commitments to sustainability, to the environment and to making Penn State an even more beautiful place to work, live and study,” Tom Beeby, executive director of the 2019 Class Gift Campaign, said.
The Pollinators’ Garden was announced in March, and O. Richard Bundy III said it’s thanks to Penn State alumnus Charles H. “Skip” Smith — whose founding gift launched construction of the arboretum in 2010 — that the arboretum will be able to fulfill its vision for a garden that will attract and sustain native pollinators.
“Unique in the botanical garden world, the garden will be associated with ongoing pollinator research at Penn State, especially undergraduate research, and an important part of its mission will be public outreach,” Kim Steiner, director of the arboretum and professor of forest biology, said in a March press release.
It will advance research that will help to counteract the decline in native pollinator populations, said Bundy, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations at Penn State.
“The entry gate to the Pollinators’ Garden will provide a beautiful and unique first impression of this new space, inviting visitors to learn and explore the importance of pollinators in our environment,” he said.
The other gifts being considered were an LGBTQA+ Student Resources Center Emergency Fund and a WorkLink Scholarship. WorkLink is a two-year certificate program launching at University Park in Fall 2019, with the goal of helping students with intellectual disabilities develop work and independent living skills while also getting the benefits of a college experience.
The class gift is a longstanding tradition at Penn State, Bundy said, and “it’s one of the most meaningful and memorable.”
For 159 years, Beeby said, the class gift campaign has enabled students to give back to the university.
“From the portrait of Penn State’s first president, Evan Pugh, that hangs in Old Main to the HUB aquarium ... to the ‘We Are’ sculpture out by Beaver Stadium, our campus is enriched by our students’ generosity,” Bundy said.