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Arboretum Feature

New Class Notes


From the KSC Arboretum

by Jeff Garland

Fern-Leaved Beech photo by Chris Justice

Fern-Leaved Beech
(Fagus sylvatica 'Asplenifolia')

At Keene State College we have a superb specimen of the fern-leaved beech. It is located on the Fiske Quad in front of Huntress Hall. Our tree is approximately 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. In 1993, our grounds supervisor, Bud Winsor, found the plant on a nursery visit to select trees for the Appian Way project. Even though other species were on his agenda, he was seduced by the tree's appeal and decided we had to have it somewhere on campus. The fern-leaved beech was planted on the Quad and became one of the first "memorial" trees at the College, dedicated to Scott Bills, a member of the class of 1983. Since then, memorial and honorary plantings have become a significant tradition for remembering loved ones. The campus becomes even more beautiful and rich as a result.

Scott Bill plaque photo by Chris Justice

I love the fern-leaved beech because it has interest and character year-round. I'm writing this on a snowy day in early April, and the tree is quite striking. A small percentage of old leaves are still hanging on, accenting the tree's dense branching habit.

The tree will eventually grow as tall as 80 feet, but it will take many years to accomplish this. Its leaves are delicate, densely cut, and green in the summer, golden brown in the fall. The low-branching habit distinguishes it from other beeches. Our tree and other memorial plantings are guaranteed to have care in perpetuity by a certified arborist. Frankly, the fern-leaved beech takes care of itself nicely, and I rarely need to prune it. Since it is not possible to grow grass under its dense canopy, we created a wide mulch bed.

I feel the tree is charmed. It has it all: a memorial connection, a unique appearance, a prominent setting, and an interesting story. It came to live on a campus where it is valued and nurtured.

KSC's Jeff Garland is a New Hampshire Certified Arborist.

Photos by Chris Justice

Dr. Bruce Stronach '74
Named TUJ Dean

Dr. Bruce Stronach photoDr. Bruce Stronach, who graduated from Keene State with a degree in history and went on to a distinguished career in academia, was named dean of Temple University's Japan campus (TUJ) in Tokyo in April. TUJ is Japan's oldest and largest foreign university, and the only one that offers American bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Nearly 3,000 students from 40 countries attend TUJ. Dr. Stronach, who has a 32-year association with Japan, is known as a scholar and reform-minded administrator with the "language skills and political savvy to negotiate the sometimes insular world of Japanese academe," according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

After his graduation from Keene State, Dr. Stronach earned two master's degrees and a doctorate in international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He first went to Japan as a visiting researcher at Keio University in Tokyo. He has most recently been serving as the president of Yokohama City University (YCU), where he was the first foreign president of a Japanese public university. At YCU, he spearheaded reforms efforts that have made the university a model among Japanese public institutions.

Marina J. Capen '99 Receives Milken Educator Award

Marina J. Capen photo

Marina Capen '99 accepts the Milken Educator Award from Milken Family Foundation chairman Lowell Milken in Los Angeles.

One of America's premier education honors, the Milken Educator Award, was given to Souhegan High School (Amherst, N.H.) mathematics teacher Marina Capen (B.A. '99) on March 30 in a gala ceremony in Los Angeles. Capen was one of 75 outstanding educators from across the nation who received a check for $25,000 and the applause of a star-studded audience, including prominent politicians and Hollywood notables. First presented in 1987, the Milken Educator Awards, called "the Oscars of teaching" by Teacher magazine, is the largest teacher recognition program in the United States, having bestowed more than 2,300 exceptional educators with more than $58 million in unrestricted cash awards.

In an emotional school-wide assembly last November, attended by students, peers, community leaders, and state and local officials, N.H. Commissioner of Education Lyonel Tracy called the popular teacher forward and gave her the good news about the award. Capen may have been surprised, but her students and fellow teachers were not. Capen, who has worked at Souhegan since interning there as a KSC student in 1999, is known as a creative and committed teacher who constantly offers differentiated instruction, which means finding a variety of ways to teach math, whether graphically, algebraically, through online data, or other models. Her goal is to reduce math phobia and motivate creative learning.

Memorial Gifts
Recognition Program

Memorial Bench photo by Chris Justice

Your participation in the Keene State College Memorial Gifts and Recognition Program is welcomed as a meaningful way of supporting the College while remembering or recognizing someone you admire. There are various gift areas that enable permanent recognition.

  • $500 - Memorial/Recognition Book Fund

  • $1,000 - Memorial/Recognition Tree

  • $2,000 - Memorial/Recognition Bench

  • $10,000 - Memorial/Recognition Endowment

  • $15,000 - Memorial/Recognition Endowed Award

  • $20,000 - Memorial/Recognition Endowed Scholarship

For more information, contact Sean Gillery, Director of Major and Planned Giving: 603-358-2371 or

The KSC Family Legacies Project
Kupchunos photo
Another KSC Family Legacy: At Homecoming '07, Al and Susan (Moorhouse) '74 Kupchunos of South Windsor, Conn., enjoyed the beautiful October weather in the company of their son, Patrick '08.

Does Keene State College run in your family?

The KSC Alumni Association and the Alumni Office are seeking families whose members have graduated from Keene Normal School, Keene Teachers College, or Keene State College. With your help on this interesting project, we're creating our Family Legacy Tree.

We're planning to celebrate the Family Legacies project for the Centennial in 2009. All indications are that we have a huge number of alumni who are related to other graduates. We may pick some of the larger extended families to highlight in displays and publications.

If anyone in your immediate or extended family attended KNS, KTC, or KSC, we'd like to know about it. We've created an online form that should help you organize your info and get it to us at the Family Legacies Project.