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Arboretum Feature

Class Notes


Parker Hall photo by Ann Card
Boston Ivy
(Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

What do Fiske, Monadnock, Randall, Blake, Butterfield, Adams, Huntress, Parker, and Morrison halls have in common? (You can add Spaulding Gym to the list, too.) They all are adorned by Boston ivy. As a gardener at Keene State, I have a love-hate relationship with this remarkable vine. The ivy creates the most feedback from the campus community to me. Here are some of the things people have shouted through windows at me when I am on a work order trimming the vines:

"It's creepy, bugs come into my room because of it."
"It's so beautiful - don't cut it. I like how the light comes into my
room through it."
"Please cut it - I can't see out my window."
"Don't cut it - there's a bird's nest in it."
"Cut it - it's covering the fire alarm boxes."

On and on it goes. All requests are valid, and we do our best to honor them. My schedule usually calls for me to trim the ivy twice a year, outlining windows and doorways to present a clean, manicured look. To do it, I need a few tools: gloves (brick is rough on fingers), hand clippers, hornet spray, sunscreen, face mask for bird attacks, eye protection, and one 65-foot bucket truck.

What are the benefits of this job? Spectacular views of the campus and Main Street, and temporary deafness to silly comments yelled from the ground.

All kidding aside, the Boston ivy is a terrific plant, one of the best vines for covering walls and other supports. It can grow 50 to 60 feet in height, with an extraordinary spreading habit. Its foliage is dark green, changing to an orange-red in the fall. Blue-black berry clusters add to its appeal. Ivy transplants readily and is easy to grow. It really has no pests, and wildlife benefits from its thick foliage. Ivy tendrils have adhesive disks or pads that allow the vine to grip walls tightly. Ivy's firm grip can actually cause problems to masonry.

Ivy likes the dampness of the brick walls and will sometimes push mortar out of joints. But the way Boston ivy enhances architecture outweighs its maintenance issues, by far. I don't know about you, but I like phrases such as these lines from Keene State's alma mater:

On lilac paths we've strolled,
Past halls in ivy twined ...

- Jeff Garland is the Keene State College arborist

Wesley McNair photo by Jonathan Adams /University of Maine at Farmington
Special Collections

The personal papers of poet Wesley McNair have been purchased by the Special Collections Library of Colby College, in Waterville, Maine. Colby College Special Collections also houses the letters and artifacts of the writers Edwin Arlington Robinson, Thomas Hardy, Sarah Orne Jewett, and many other significant literary figures. A ceremony celebrating the acquisition of the McNair papers was held in the Robinson Room at Colby College on April 12, 2006.

The McNair collection is a rich, eclectic body of materials that contains early writings, manuscript drafts, first appearances, photographs, and extensive correspondence with literary peers, according to Special Collections Librarian Patricia Burdick. The McNair papers will continue to grow through annual accruals.

Wes McNair, who lives in Mercer, was a visiting professor of creative writing at Colby and is now professor emeritus and writer-in-residence at the University of Maine at Farmington. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including eight volumes of poetry, two collections of essays, one of them co-written, and four edited anthologies. In 2005, he received his second Rockefeller fellowship and he has held grants from the Fulbright and Guggenheim foundations, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in literature, and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Other honors include the Jane Kenyon Award, the Robert Frost Award, the Theodore Roethke Prize, the Eunice Tietjens Prize from Poetry magazine, an Emmy Award, the Sarah Josepha Hale Medal, and two honorary degrees for literary distinction. He has twice served on the nominating jury for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.

Bruce LeVine Mellion and Aurora photo by Judy Kalich
Keene State to receive a birthday gift!

Bruce LeVine Mellion, a Keene State graduate of the Class of 1969, on the occasion of his 60th birthday, extends an invitation to Keene State College alumni, faculty, staff, and students to submit applications for a $6,000 grant to support a unique project that has the potential of having broad based impact for the College. The LeVine Mellion $6,000 Celebration Grant has promise of making a difference at Keene State. "I want to celebrate my 60th birthday knowing that my alma mater will benefit just as I have benefited from an outstanding Keene State education." The awarded funds could provide seed money or complete funding for a project. Individuals, groups or departments are eligible to apply.

Applications due: February 1, 2007
Grant awarded: March 15, 2007
Grant funds expended by: May 15, 2008

Bruce and his wife, Linda Zucker Mellion, have been very generous to Keene State before. The beautiful sculpture "Aurora" in the Rhodes Hall/Mason Library Courtyard was given to the College in honor of their parents. The Student Conference Fund, Hildebrandt Awards and the annual student trip to the National Holocaust Museum all receive annual support from Bruce and Linda. They established the annual Fred Fosher Writing Award in 2005 in honor of Professor Emeritus, Fred Fosher, to recognize students for writing excellence. And many years ago he and his siblings established the LeVine Mellion Parent of the Year Award that is awarded each fall at the Awards Convocation during Parent and Family Weekend.

For an application or additional information, please contact Judy J. Kalich, director of Major and Planned Giving (603/358-2371;

Training Teachers in Ghana

While on a sabbatical from her teaching position at Milford (N.H.) Middle School, Pauline Corsini Landrigan '78 has been volunteering in Bechem, Ghana. She is at St. Joseph's Teacher Training College, where she constructed a resource room and is instructing some future Ghanian teachers on how to develop lesson plans and create resource materials.

She is working on behalf of the International Federation of Educators and Self-Help (IFESH). Another part of her responsibility is to develop and deliver seminars to the prospective teachers and to existing teachers in surrounding towns.

We talk each Sunday and she tells me that she finds the work is fulfilling a dream she has had for some time. She is also directing her second school play at St. Joseph's.

The area of Ghana where she teaches is quite remote, approximately a six-hour drive from Accra, the country's capital. On her campus, there are only a few buildings with electricity or running water and the threat of disease is acute due to the poverty and lack of sanitation.

I was able to visit her in March as a surprise for her birthday and it was amazing the way she has touched so many lives of current and future teachers in Ghana. Our three daughters, Marissa, Meaghan, and Caitlin, are incredibly proud of what Pauline has accomplished."

Link to map of Ghana

- Brian Landrigan '77

Josephine Russell and Sarah Webb photoCanadian Retreat

Josephine Russell '93 (right) and Sarah Webb '95 enjoyed 12 days of bliss conoeing, practicing yoga, and bird-watching along the Noire River in Quebec in August.

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