Rain garden celebrates Honors Program professor emerita | UToledo News

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Rain garden celebrates Honors Program professor emerita

Students, faculty and staff recently dedicated the Mary Sue Cave Honors Rain Garden, celebrating the life and career of the longtime UT Honors Program professor and adviser.

Annie Baibak watered the Mary Sue Cave Honors Rain Garden earlier this year as Shannon Booth and Andrew Walsh finished putting in plants. They are students in the Honors Program.

Annie Baibak watered the Mary Sue Cave Honors Rain Garden earlier this year as Shannon Booth and Andrew Walsh finished putting in plants. They are students in the Honors Program.

The rain garden, located between the Horton International House, Academic House and Sullivan Hall, is composed of deep-rooted vegetation that tolerates wet soil and irrigation drains. The garden prevents surface flooding as water is absorbed and slowly released over time. It also serves as a natural filter as the plants and soil trap pollutants carried by the water.

“We wanted to honor one of the great Honors Program teachers and advisers,” said Dr. Tom Barden, professor of English and director of the Honors Program. “Mary Sue and her husband, Al, lived and breathed Honors and the humanities during their time at UT and it just seemed appropriate.”

Al Cave is professor emeritus of history, and Mary Sue Cave, professor emerita, taught Honors Readings Conference courses and advised in the program from 1968 to 1992. She died in 2004.

Barden said that environmental stewardship was one of three central promises Honors students make when they join the program; students also commit to exploring the social and ethical consequences of decisions they make.

Honors students have committed to maintaining the rain garden, and Barden said it will provide a daily reminder of their obligations to the environment.

Dozens of former students and Honors advisees from across the nation sent in their memories of Mary Sue Cave.

Barden read from former student Blythe Howard’s letter to represent that collective affection.

“Not only did Mary Sue’s willingness to help enable me to continue at the University, but it was also the first time anyone in my life had ever supported my professional dreams,” Howard wrote.

The garden was funded with contributions from the Stranahan Foundation and was installed by Blanchard Tree & Lawn Service of Holland, Ohio.

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