Word Garden 10th birthday includes tribute to Will Marquess

Bang-Jensen and Lubkowitz, creators and curators, tell history of beautiful campus space; stone artist speaks, Castillo '20 wins haiku contest, and whimsy reigns in tributes to beloved late English instructor

October 22, 2021
Faculty/staff report
Valerie group

Valerie Bang-Jensen at right welcomes community members to Thursday’s celebration in the Word Garden. ( Pat Bohan photos)

Enjoy a photo gallery of Word Garden celebration>>

Faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni gathered in the Teaching Gardens on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 21, to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Word Garden, even though the creators of the garden say it actually would have been the 11th birthday celebration if not for COVID.

Those creators and curators of the Teaching Gardens are Mark Lubkowitz of the biology faculty and Valerie Bang-Jensen of education. For Thursday’s celebration, they shared the history of the gardens, acknowledging encouragement and support from Saint Michael’s Presidents vanderHeyden, Neuhauser, and Sterritt, along with longtime Facilities Department worker Alan Dickinson and the College grounds crew, and many others.

stone dude

Chris Cleary, stone artist.

Chris Cleary, the stone artist who created the words in the garden, described how published articles about the Word Garden have sparked interest in his work. He said customers in Florida, Alaska and Connecticut have commissioned Word Gardens from him after learning about the one at Saint Michael’s. Cleary also made the seven stone benches throughout the Gardens area, donated by the class of 2007.

The winner of this year’s word stone haiku contest was Victoria Castillo ’20 of the MOVE Office in Edmundite Campus Ministry, earning her the honor of choosing a new word to be donated to the garden.

The gathering provided the perfect opportunity to honor Instructor Emeritus of English, Will Marquess, who died in May 2020. In his memory, members of the community chose words for stones to donate to the garden. Individuals shared the reasons behind their selections and placed them in the Word Garden, often eliciting tears and laughter from those gathered. Among the choices to honor Will:

Will Stone

Where there’s a Will ….

  • “Confabulation” (a word Will created for First-Year Seminar faculty meetings)
  • “Converse” elicited smiles because of Will’s signature footwear and love of conversations
  • “Swish” and “athlete” were a nod to his enjoyment of sports
  • Among other fitting words were :”leal (which means loyal and honest),” “brillig (from the poem Jabberwocky), “ bodacious,” “gentle,” “grand,” and “imagination.”
  • Liz Inness-Brown, one of Will’s English Department colleagues, lead the crowd in a cheer of her chosen word, “Huzzah!,” one that Will would use to recognize accomplishments and good news.

Said Bang-Jensen, “There is no better way to celebrate the Word Garden than adding words that described a beloved colleague so well, especially one who loved words.”

Liz Huzzah

Liz Inness-Brown leads a cheer of “Huzzah” with her stone as VPAA Jeffrey Trumbower behind her joins in.

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