Memorial garden to recall those lost on Sept. 11

imageDonations from the last four graduating classes at SUNY Oswego will soon bloom into a Sept. 11 Memorial Garden on campus. A public dedication ceremony will take place at noon Sunday, Sept. 11, at the garden on the south side of Glimmerglass Lagoon.

“Members of the class of 2002 approached the Alumni Association about re-establishing a senior class gift program because they wanted to do something on campus to remember those lost in the Sept. 11 tragedy,” said Betsy Oberst, executive director of the Oswego Alumni Association.

All four classes on campus that day—2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005—who came together for a candlelight vigil the night of the attacks later decided to allocate their senior class gifts for the Memorial Garden. “I think it’s a wonderful addition to the campus, and a very thoughtful way to remember the dozen Oswego alumni and many others lost that day,” Oberst said.

Alumni lost included Scott Bart ‘95, Michelle Brattan ‘00, Richard Caproni ‘89, Michael Cawley ‘91, Michael Collins ‘84, Wendy Morris Faulkner ‘74, Michael Hannan ‘89, Michael O’Brien ‘81, James Potorti ‘72, Leo Roberts ‘79, Melissa Renee Vincent ‘94 and James Woods ‘97.

Families and friends of those alumni have been invited to the dedication ceremony, with some already saying they planned to attend, Oberst said. The public is invited as well. Alice Massimi of the class of 2002, now a reporter and anchor in Savannah, Ga., spearheaded the initial effort and will return to emcee the ceremony.

“Families, friends and classmates of those lost have expressed sincere appreciation for the generosity and thoughtfulness of our students,” said Michelle Tackett-Spinner, assistant director of alumni and parent relations and coordinator of the memorial dedication. “The garden will serve as a lasting remembrance and truly captures the togetherness of the campus community, alumni, family and friends.”

Mary DePentu, the college’s assistant director of operations and a landscape designer, coordinated the garden. “The site offers a serene, intimate location, yet still visible from campus, where one can reflect,” she said. “The plantings are simple during most of the growing season, then once the garden matures they become a show of fall color.”

The multi-tiered garden, featuring plants that bloom in September, will include fall blooming crocus, red berries of winterberry holly, white cyclamen, blue aster and perennials. The campus grounds department has shown great pride in installing the garden, as “each progression is handled with great detail and consideration,” DePentu said.

Shawn Boshart, a 1989 graduate who runs Oswego County Monuments, will provide the commemorative plaque remembering the alumni. Ellen Hornig of Seneca Hill Perennials will donate some of the plants for the memorial site.

Anyone interested in making additional donations for future enhancements to the garden may call 312-3003.

For more information on the Sept. 11 Memorial Garden or the dedication ceremony, visit

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PHOTO CAPTION: From darkness, light—The night of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the SUNY Oswego campus community came together for a candlelight vigil. That spirit of togetherness has led to the students on campus that day—2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 graduates—making class gifts to establish a Sept. 11 Memorial Garden on campus for the 12 alumni and others lost on that fateful day. A public dedication ceremony at the multi-tiered, colorful garden will take place at noon on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the garden on the south side of Glimmerglass Lagoon.

CONTACT: Michelle Tackett-Spinner, 312-2258

(Posted: Aug 25, 2005)