URI College of Nursing garden campaign blossoming

KINGSTON, R.I., June 1, 1999–The University of Rhode Island College of Nursing has raised $70,000 of its $100,000 goal to renovate and expand the Hart Garden at the southeast corner of White Hall. The College kicked off the public phase of the campaign May 18 during ceremonies at White Hall, the College’s home. Construction is scheduled to begin next fall. Dayle Joseph, of East Greenwich, interim dean of the College, unveiled plans for the garden before numerous supporters. The garden will include a bronze sculpture of Florence Nightingale, who is credited with establishing the first nursing school. “We want this to be a place of beauty,” Joseph said. “Our program is demanding and time-consuming. This garden will give our students a place to ponder the important work for which they are preparing. We see this garden as a place for reflection.” The Hart Garden, named in honor of Wakefield’s Elizabeth Hart, assistant dean emerita of the College of Nursing, is located in a quiet alcove facing the Chafee parking lot. “Over the past two years the faculty and the Nursing Alumni Association held planting parties that yielded a beautiful flowering garden in the spring,” Joseph said. “As people began to spend more time in the garden, it became apparent that the garden needed a systematic approach.” The garden serves as a private area for celebrating important events within the College, including student receptions. “The garden encourages people to mingle and provides an informal, warm atmosphere,” Joseph said. Over the past year, Nursing College officials have worked with Associate Professor of Plant Science Will Green, from the campus Landscape Architecture Program, to develop plans for the grounds outside White Hall. Green examined the grounds in relation to the University’s Master Planning efforts, which are addressing campus-wide growth and construction issues. Plans call for a terraced sitting area, and a walkway into the alcove where the sculpture will be located. The back door, which is really the main entrance to White Hall, will be more clearly marked through plantings and a canopy. Trees will be planted to the west side of the parcel to shield the garden from the parking and traffic in the Chafee lot. Joseph told the group that the garden will feature many disease-resistant and low-maintenance plants, but said there is no such thing as a maintenance free garden. The fund drive includes a plan to establish an endowment to ensure garden maintenance on a permanent basis. Joseph introduced artist Larry Griffis of East Greenwich, who has been commissioned to sculpt a bronze image of Florence Nightingale, the English nurse, hospital reformer and philanthropist, who established sanitation codes in a barrack hospital during the Crimean War. Griffis presented a computerized rendering of the garden. He plans to begin work on the statue this summer. Cynthia Sculco, originally from Westerly, and a retired faculty member at Hunter College, honorary chair of the campaign, graduated from URI’s nursing program in 1965. “I was helped by the University financially, and I am now happy to return to assist the University,” Sculco said. Anyone interested in donating to the campaign should contact Dan Barry, assistant director of development, at 874-5365. -xxx- For Further Information: Dayle Joseph 401-874-2766 Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116