NCC's Tribute Garden: A Space to Remember and Celebrate

by Cynthia Tintorri; photos by Hub Willson
April 25, 2013

On a beautifully sunny yet brisk day, students, faculty, staff and distinguished guests gathered to acknowledge the past year's additions to Northampton Community College's Susan K. Kubik Tribute Garden. The April 25 event saw the groundbreaking of a new Butterfly Garden II and a ribbon-cutting for Phase III of the Garden.

Tribute Garden 2013NCC President Dr. Mark Erickson welcomed everyone and acknowledged the opportunity the Tribute Garden affords "to honor a whole host of people who are important to us at Northampton."

Karl Stackhouse, chair of NCC's Board of Trustees, spoke about Susan Kubik, retired vice president of Institutional Advancement, for whom the garden is named. "Susan and her staff nurtured the idea of this garden, and it has become everything she envisioned."

Others spoke about some of the tributes being dedicated in the garden that day. Current Vice President of Institutional Advancement Sherri Jones dedicated a red oak, the garden's first, "to pay tribute to my friend and colleague, Sue Kubik. I'm reminded of Rosa Parks' words, 'Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground.'"

Cutting the ribbon for Phase IIISenator Lisa Boscola talked about her family's dogwood tree tribute to her mother, Anna Stofko '77. "We surprised her with it at Christmas, because she wants to be able to look at it now, when she's alive," she laughed. "My mother's accounting classes here helped her and my father be able to send me and my brother to college. I appreciate everything Northampton has done for my family, and for this community."

Brian Smith, student, Gulf War veteran and president of NCC's Band of Brothers club, spoke about the garden's Tribute to the Troops, and showed an artist's rendering of how that part of the garden will look when all phases are complete. "This has been the college of choice for thousands of veterans, so it's appropriate that we honor them."

Breaking ground for Butterfly Garden IIHistory and Sociology Professor Earl Page talked about his friend and colleague Bill Bearse. A tribute in memory of the former athletic director was dedicated because "he gave his all to this place. I heard him once tell a baseball player up to bat to 'walk it through the garden.' I asked him what that meant, and he said, where he came from in the south, if you ordered a burger and told them to 'walk it through the garden,' that meant to put everything on it," Page explained. Referring to Bearse's career at Northampton, Page concluded, "Billy walked it through the garden."

Dr. Erickson concluded the program by thanking Sharon Zondag, planned and major gifts officer, for all her work and dedication to making the Tribute Garden a reality. "And thank you to all the donors who have brought this garden to life."

For more information, or to be a part of the garden, contact Sharon Zondag in Institutional Advancement at

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