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Garden Built to Honor Former Evangel Professor Benefits Students, Community

Peggy Reed
Dr. Peggy Reed Working on the Garden. Credit: Evangel University

Evangel University faculty and students have constructed a community garden at Weller Elementary as a way to honor a late Evangel professor. As KSMU’s Julie Greene reports, this commemorative garden will benefit students and the surrounding community.  

For 24 years, Dr. Virgil Nicholson was an education professor at Evangel where he also served as a chair on the university’s education board. After his retirement, he continued to be an active Evangel participant until he passed away in July 2011.

The following spring, Evangel’s adoptive school partner, Weller Elementary, notified the university of plans to expand their courtyard garden.  After some discussion, Evangel decided this garden would be the ideal way to honor Dr. Nicholson.

Dr. Peggy Reed is an education professor at Evangel and is also one of the lead coordinators on the project. 

 “Dr. Nicholson was an avid gardener, and we had it in the back on our mind that we wanted to do something for him,” Reed said.

Besides honoring Dr. Nicholson and benefiting Weller students, the garden is intended to assist the surrounding community.

“People can come to the school in the summer and pick vegetables. This is a low-income area, and a lot of the families cannot afford to buy fresh vegetables. This way, they can grow the things themselves or if they don’t have space, they can go over to the school.  It’s a way to help with better nutrition.”

Under the guidance of Dr. Reed and Jenny Green, a Weller fifth grade teacher, construction for the 20’ by 24’ garden began and finished in February of 2012; however, faculty and staff decided to delay the dedication ceremony until harvest.

Now, the garden is in full bloom and grows vegetables including broccoli, carrots and potatoes. The dedication will take place on Wednesday, October 2 at 2:30 p.m. at Weller Elementary.

For KSMU News, I’m Julie Greene.