By Brooke Retkowski, The Whetstone
Kirsten Higgins, a 1998 Wesley College graduate, will be the second member of her family to be honored for her contributions to Wesley.
“My father, Professor Higgins, taught environmental science at Wesley for 40 years,” she said. “The greenhouse has a plaque outside dedicated in his honor.”
Higgins will be receiving an engraved paver for donating scholarship money to students, part of the new Alumni Circle on the south side of College Center. The circle consists of engraved pavers of alumnae who have given back to the college.
Twice a year Wesley will engrave pavers and eventually add bricks as more alumni give money to the school.
Laura Mayse, Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, said the circle is an opportunity for Wesley to recognize alumni who have given to the college.
“This is our chance to thank the alumni and for everyone to see they have given a gift to the college,” she said. “We already have 37 engraved pavers going into the circle.”
The Alumni Association Board came up with the idea in 2015.
President Clark said this has been something the alumni have been wanting to add to campus.
“Usually colleges have a bench designated to a class, but here we have all alumni coming together in one area,” he said. “The money spent on the installment and bricks comes directly from the Alumni Association Board. Wesley pays nothing towards it.”
Sophomore Tyler Lingenfelder said the circle is a great way for Wesley to continue to give money back to students.
“The fact students pay nothing toward the circle and the college is able to start giving more money back to students from the purchasing of bricks is a great thing to hear,” he said. “It really benefits the students.”
Mayse, a 1992 Wesley alumna, said many alumni love the idea of having their names on bricks in the middle of the campus.
“This idea allows them to leave a permanent mark from where they started and what it means to them to be a part of Wesley College,” she said.
Higgins, alumna of Wesley College and President of the Alumni Association, said she was excited about the Alumni Circle.
“Students now have a visual legacy to follow,” she said. “It shows the students that alumni are proud of where they came from, and gives them inspiration to make the most out of their experience at Wesley.”
Junior Megan DiRubbio said the circle was a great way to see alumni still here and thinking of the current students.
“As a student-athlete, it feels great knowing we have the support of alumni on campus,” she said. “Wesley feels like home to me and I think this just adds to that feeling.”
Mayse said every alumnus will have the opportunity to pledge into Alumni Circle.
“Any alumni who gives a gift of $500 or more has the opportunity to be recognized in the circle with an engraved paver,” she said.
DiRubbio said she will consider donating to Wesley after she graduates.
“I feel that alumni are just as important as current students,” she said.
Clark said “Alumni Circle” title has a history behind it.
“Years ago, the street was not blocked off, the street actually ran through the campus,” he said. “So, when students were dropped off there was a circle for the cars to pull into just outside of College Center. The arc shape allows alumni to remember the college the way it used to appear when they attended Wesley.”