Lasting memories

Helen Ramirez / Roundup

Memorial benches and legacy bricks are sold in hopes of beautifying the campus through commemoration and donations expressing appreciation for Pierce College.

Barbara Heller, senior secretary of academic affairs, bought a bench to commemorate her mother who passed away four years ago.

“I visit often, sit down and talk to my mother,” Heller said. “It’s a spiritual experience for me. I don’t bring flowers; I just bring my thoughts and feelings”

The Botanical Garden, located in middle of the Life Science and Math buildings, has featured memorial benches since 2003. The plaques on the benches bear the names of faculty or family members who have passed away. Others have purchased benches as a contribution to the beautification of the garden and Pierce campus.

The memorial benches cost $800, which includes the bench, plaque and installation, according to Dr. James Rikel, instructor of life sciences.

Heller has been working at Pierce for 18 years and says Pierce is special to her. She feels the memorial benches are a great way to acknowledge someone and in return receive a sense of gratitude.

“It’s very beautiful watching students using the benches while they read or study. It’s so peaceful,” Heller said.

Legacy bricks have been sold by the Foundation for Pierce College for about five years. These bricks are to memorialize family or business names while supporting Pierce’s Agricultural Education Center on the corner of Victory Boulevard and De Soto Avenue.

“Legacy bricks are an opportunity for people to demonstrate their love for Pierce and honor the people that they care about,” said Dennis Washburn, director of the Foundation for Pierce College.

“The bricks are one way to bring attention to the farm itself and have the people who have purchased these bricks come and enjoy the activities of the farm and see their contribution,” Washburn said.

The price of the legacy brick depends on the size. A 4×8 brick is $100 and an 8×8 brick is $500.

Larry Kraus, associate vice president, purchased a legacy brick with his and his wife’s names engraved.

“It reminds us that we have a fundamental legacy of agriculture at Pierce College which we are trying to mature and promote,” he said.

According to Washburn, about 150 bricks were displayed in the market patio of the Farm Market last year, but because of wear and tear they were removed and are being conserved until a more preserved area is made for them.

“The idea of a plaque or legacy brick is to have it last for a long time,” Washburn said. “We want to make sure that we are able to maintain and pursue the bricks to give that to give a lasting memory.”

Melissa, 20, a business major, sits on a bench in the Pierce College Botanical Garden dedicated to the memory Carmelita Thomas, former interim president who served Pierce College in 1999. (Christina Colucci / Roundup)