Housing dedicates memorial garden for former staff members

Roberto Hodge, News Editor

A Memorial garden in honor of former housing and dining staff is under construction in between Lawson and Andrews Halls.

Mark Hudson, the director of housing and dining, said the garden is in honor of Mark Shaklee, who was the associate director for housing for 32 years, and Mike Drake.

Hudson said Drake was in charge of the washers and dryers on campus, and did the camera system for the university.

“Those two people passing got alumni thinking about how we would like to do something in honor of them, but also for other who want to participate in having some kind of area where they can reflect on their time at Eastern,” said Hudson.

Hudson said they are placing the garden between those two buildings because Shaklee was married to Bonnie Buckley, the founder of Eastern’s Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Services, which had an office located in the basement of Lawson for 30 years.

He said Drake’s wife Lynette was the hall director of Lawson when she and Drake met.

“In addition to those two reasons, it was also an area that I thought never looked as good as I thought it could,” said Hudson.

Hudson said they have raised about $30,000 for the garden, which will act as a courtyard for students, staff and faculty.

In order to help pay for the cost of the courtyard, alumni have purchased bricks and 16×16 pavers and bench pavers to help contribute to the overall $60,000 cost of the project, said Hudson.

Bricks are $100, pavers are $250, and the bench pavers are $2,500. They can all be engraved.

Hudson said people are continually buying the pavers, so their hope is that over the years the project will pay for itself with those purchases; the alumni were making contributions and they wanted to see something done with their funds, so the memorial garden became a construction project.

Despite the current state budget impasse, Hudson said the state doesn’t have anything to do with funding of the project, and that housing and dining is a standalone auxiliary—they don’t get any money from the state.

Their operational funds all come from money paid into room and board contacts; within their budget they have the availability to supply finances for renovations and alterations to the campus, which is also being used to complete the project.

“We want to make sure that our campus has amenities that serve our current students well, but also is attractive to potential people looking at this campus to see if they’re interested in coming here.” Hudson said, “The second bonus of this is that the final product, the Memorial Garden area, is going to be a nice looking area for students to utilize.”

If the weather permits, the project is expected to be completed sometime in November. Because of its close proximity to the two residence halls, Wi-Fi will be available.


Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]