Pavers with Special Meaning Find a Forever Home in Campus Conservatory

After existing in flux for years coinciding with major capital construction projects at the College, SUNY Cobleskill is once again featuring in prominence some very special pavers, honoring alumni from as far back as the 1950s. Earlier this winter, thanks to the restoration efforts of Associate Professor Tim Marten of the Landscape Contracting & Landscape Development Program, bricks displaying the names of alumni-donors have been installed into the College’s Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Conservatory.

Pavers displaying the names of alumni had previously been on display in Hodder Hall. When SUNY Cobleskill demolished seven buildings including Hodder to construct CANR – and its 2,000-square-foot conservatory – in 2014, the College saved the pavers but was unable to showcase them. Marten and his students rectified things this fall and winter as part of a class project. Today, the pavers serve as a gateway to a conservatory housing all manner of plants and shrubs, plus a seating area.

Sonja and Bradford Bearce (both ’60) are two alumni-donors SUNY Cobleskill recognizes with named bricks. From their home in West Virginia, the Bearces learned of the relocation project from the College’s Office of Advancement. The couple met in the College cafeteria line in 1958, married the next year, and will celebrate 60 years of marriage this summer.

“Cobleskill was the stepping off place and the inspiration for our lives,” say Mr. and Mrs. Bearce. “While potting plants in the tiny campus greenhouse during fall 1958, I first realized horticulture was the career for me, and so it has been to the present day,” says Mr. Bearce.

The present location of their bricks makes the Bearces’ story all-too fitting. Thanks to members of the campus community, stories such as these now greet visitors in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, yet fully functional.