New Class Notes
Amur Chokecherry (Prunus maackii)
This small but distinctive tree graces the lawn above the Redfern Arts Center. The well-drained site has allowed the tree to flourish and fully exhibit its wonderful characteristics. Small, fragrant white flowers in spring yield a multitude of tiny cherries that birds enjoy. The tree's dense dark-green foliage changes to yellow in the fall. As the tree grows, the brownish-yellow bark exfoliates, adding handsome texture to the winter landscape. The chokecherry's ability to withstand extremely low temperatures plus its all-round durability are its strongest assets. Underused by landscape architects, it can fill the bill in many landscape settings.
This particular tree is here through the generosity of another member of the University System. On a visit by Keene State's grounds crew to the Plymouth State campus, their gardener, Steve Sweedler, asked if we could use a tree he had grown from seed at their nursery. We came home with our beautiful specimen of the Amur chokecherry.
The tree is not our only connection to Steve Sweedler. His daughter, Kate Sweedler '04, has become a vital member of the Keene State gardening crew. She demonstrated her own best characteristics during the past year by assuming responsibilities thrust upon her after an injury to our gardener, Chris Feiker, and performing flawlessly in his absence.
- Jeff Garland, College Arborist
Ruth Wilson Keddy
Keene State College lost a devoted teacher, administrator, and friend with the passing of Ruth Keddy '43 on July 3. "Ruth Keddy gave much of her life to her alma mater, and we are much richer for her intelligence, dedication, and many talents," said KSC President Dr. Stanley J. Yarosewick on hearing of her death.
Keddy taught physical education at Keene State from 1947 to 1967 and was director of women's physical education for many years. She was dean of women for 10 years (1967-77), and was director of the Career Placement Office from 1977 until her retirement in 1983.
A pioneer and innovator in the classroom, Keddy, who was inducted into the KSC Alumni/Athletic Hall of fame in 1987, helped raise the bar for women in physical education. In addition to teaching a wide range of sports and skills, as well as anatomy and physiology courses, she set up competitive intramural leagues (known as red & white teams) and implemented a peer leadership program, where selected juniors and seniors taught and officiated games for underclassmen.
"Ruth felt women were just as important as men and made sure we were proud of what we did," said Lois Plimpton '54, a former student of Keddy's, who also became a lifelong friend. "She was someone everyone looked up to."
"She was a much respected, honored, and loved teacher and coach because she taught by example," added Lola Tanner-Burns '54. "We learned sportsmanship, patience, and self-respect."
Plimpton and her husband accompanied Keddy to Alumni Weekend in June to celebrate the class's 50th reunion. "She was always special to our class because we were one of the first to become active in women's sports," Plimpton said. "I got several letters from friends who were glad that they had the chance to see her again."
Carol Plaisted of Surry was a friend of Keddy's for more than 40 years and a colleague at the Wheelock School. She said Keddy was active in Delta Kappa Gamma, the honor society for women educators, and was honored this spring for her 35-year association with the group.
"Everything you heard about her is true and square it," said Keith King, who credits Keddy, along with then-President Lloyd Young, for his decision to join the physical education faculty at Keene Teachers College in 1957. "When you asked her to do something, it got done early, it got done well, and it got done with a flair," he added. "It went along with her red hair and her smile. She was just a neat person to be around."
With the dedication of the white house at the corner of Wyman Way and Main Street in honor of Ruth and husband Mac, a professor and chair of the English department at KSC who died in 1999, the name Keddy will always be a part of Keene State. But, more important, she will also be remembered for setting high standards that brought out the best in her students and colleagues.
"Her attitude was, 'What can I do to help you,'" said Kay Saucier '64, a former student who later joined the KSC faculty (she retired in 2003). "There was no one I met in undergraduate or graduate work that held a candle to her professional commitment."
"She kept me honest, " said King with a hearty laugh. "To live up to her standards and have her say thank you was worth a lot of time and effort."
In Memoriam -
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