New garden to grace center of the Hill

New garden to grace center of the Hill

Posted on Friday, May 08, 2020

Current view of Smith Patio

When Shearon Wiggins Glover ’72 was a freshman, her room in Hawkes Hall overlooked the brick patio next to Smith Hall.

“At that time, the area was a very vibrant place where many students gathered between classes, talked with friends and relaxed,” she said. “As the campus has grown over the years, new meeting spots have sprung up and the Maidee Smith Patio has become more of a pass-through than a gathering place.”

Glover, a member of the college’s Board of Trustees, mourned the fact that current residents of the Hill didn’t have a beautiful and welcoming place like the one she and her classmates enjoyed. Then she heard President Dan McAlexander mention his dream of upgrading the patio, and she knew she had to help.

“I have a love of gardens that I share with my husband, Taylor,” she said. “We knew this was a perfect project for us.”

Although once the hub of student activity, the space had grown progressively more hazardous over the years, McAlexander said.

“The roots of the patio’s magnificent magnolia had grown so large that they were pushing up and breaking the brick pavers, making it potentially dangerous,” he said. “Something needed to be done, but with all the other construction going on, we just didn’t have the funds for it.”

glovers.jpgEnter the Glovers. During a campus visit in January, Shearon Glover met with McAlexander and Rebecca Roth Nicks, Vice President for External Relations, to discuss the plan.

“Shearon was thrilled with it, and agreed to fully fund the project,” Nicks said.

Deborah Hall, Vice President for Finance and Operations, has worked with Glover during the pre-construction phase.

“She’s been actively involved – from selecting a new fountain to choosing new benches, lighting and other details,” she said.

According to Nicks, the plan is to remove the pavers and redo the borders to make it more of a garden-like setting that includes a walkway. The existing fountain will be removed and replaced with a new one more centrally located in the patio. The path from the dining hall will flow directly into a sitting area, and another area of steps will lead from the library into the garden.

The kiosk will be removed, and the flagpole will be slightly relocated.

“The location of the flagpole will only be changed a little to make room for some new steps,” Nicks said. “But we will be adding a special plaque to commemorate its dedication to Kappa Sig and its donors, Bill ’72 and Sheila Hodges.”

MaideeSmithGarden---Master-Plan-2019.12.13.jpgDavid Barclift is serving as landscape design architect, and Lee Jones, campus landscape and athletic field manager, is overseeing the work.

“Both David and Lee have been involved with keeping our campus beautiful for a long time,” Hall said. “We couldn’t be in better hands.”

Benchmark Contracting will be doing the construction, which is scheduled to begin May 18.

“We hope to have the garden completed by mid to late June,” Nicks said. “We want it to be a ready to greet everyone when they return to campus in the fall.”

McAlexander said he is humbled by the generosity of the Glovers.

“We can’t express how blessed we are to have Shearon and Taylor take on this project,” he said. “They are both involved with the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and have a deep interest in and knowledge for this kind of endeavor.

“In appreciation of their kindness, the new area will be called the Glover Garden.”

Shearon Glover can’t wait to see the finished green space.

“A core tenet of LaGrange College’s mission is to challenge the minds and inspire the souls of its students,” she said. “I love gardens because they are beautiful, tranquil and vibrant, and they inspire my soul.  We think turning this area into a garden, with green space and gathering benches, will greatly improve this part of campus that meant so much to me as a student.”


Campus notes


The annual Honors Day recognitions were presented online Wednesday. Academic and service awards were presented to faculty and students for their outstanding achievements. Senior Coral Douglas was named the winner of the Waights G. Henry Jr. Leadership Award, the highest honor given to a student. To see more, visit the interactive Honors Day website.

Registration is continuing for summer online classes. Undergraduate tuition is discounted by nearly 50 percent. Sessions begin May 27. For more information, visit the website

The 2020 National History Day virtual state contest award ceremony was held May 7. Originally scheduled to convene on the LaGrange campus in April, COVID-19 forced the contest to go online. Almost 400 students from across the state participated in this year’s competition. President Dan McAlexander welcomed the students and remarked on the “historic” nature of the event. He commended the students for persevering and continuing to work despite school closures and social distancing.  In recognition of his decade-long support of NHD Georgia and in honor of his pending retirement, McAlexander was named “Honorary Captain” of the NHD Georgia national contest delegation (aka “Team Georgia”).  

Political Science undergraduates recently had their research published in the Newnan Times-Herald and the LaGrange Daily News. Contributing to “How Americans grade their presidents in an international crisis” were Caleb Tyler, Len Spivey, Sam Shaw, Errick Strum, Sam Rogers, Jalen Morgan, Brennan Oates, Zac Hill, Andrue Davis, Jalen Trice, Shedrick Lindsey, Madison Demkowski, Nia Johnson, Jessica Moore, Jacob Jeffords, Shawn Bailey, Jake Thrailkill, Tamino Schoeffer and Austin Garner. Dr. John Tures, Professor of Political Science, led the project.

Dr. Kevin Ludwick and junior Holston Sebaugh recently represented LaGrange College virtually at the Science Society in Washington, D.C. Although the trip to D.C. was canceled, their work can be viewed at 



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Salute to Outstanding Panthers: Freshman pitcher/infielder Abbey Gardner was a perfect 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA on the mound for LC. She was the USA South Rookie Pitcher of the Week during the season. At the plate, Gardner had two home runs, 10 RBIs, and batted .390.


Video of the week

The Wilkinson Family Servant Scholars present their 2019-2020 Senior Colloquium, “Beyond the Book.” The project encouraged literacy in the LaGrange/Troup County community.


In the headlines

LaGrange College names new president – Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 4, 2020

The latest in Georgia college reopening plans – Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 6, 2020

“Transitions” (includes Susanna Baxter being named LC President) – Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2020

Category: College, Philanthropy, Students

Keywords: patio garden Shearon Glover

Press Contact

Debby Baker

Last updated: 05/08/2020