By Ranchithaa Anatory
It has been nearly eight months since Western Michigan University President Emeritus Diether H. Haenicke’s passed away.
In remembrance of his decades of service to the university, WMU’s Landscape Services is in the midst of building the Haenicke Memorial Garden.
WMU Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Peter Strazdas said that Facility Management-Landscape Services has spent $12,829.99 thus far on trees, plant materials, benches, and lighting in the garden; money that was already budgeted for a garden space.
A memorial plaque to be installed in the garden is being finalized by the Haenicke family.
According to Strazdas, the maintenance of the garden will include winter pruning of shrubs and trees around the area. He also said that Landscape Services Unit would perform maintenance on the garden at no additional cost.
The garden, expected to be complete by spring, sits outside the Chemistry Building.
“It only seemed fitting for the area to be dedicated to him, since he selected the sculpture and location of the students that can be seen there today, and he liked the area when the initial landscape improvements were done,” said Tim Holysz, director of Landscape Services, Facilities Management of WMU.
“In fact, Haenicke was one of the first proponents of campus beautification project during his time as president of the university.”
The late Haenicke served as the university’s fifth president from 1985 to 1998. After his tenure as president, Haenicke returned to faculty in 1998 and retired from WMU as president emeritus in 2004. From 2006 to 2007, he served as interim president before President John Dunn came to the university
In 1998, all international operations in the university were gathered under one umbrella service, the Diether H. Haenicke Institute for Global Education, to mark Haenicke’s passion for international studies.
“He had done a lot to expand the university and the international community at WMU,” said Olena Koshmanova, a spring 2009 graduate who received the President’s Grant for Study Abroad to study in Barcelona, Spain in fall 2009 and was also a student advisor for study abroad with the Haenicke Institute for Global Education.
“A memorial garden will make Dr. Haenicke’s presence be felt and remembered at Western forever,” Koshmanova said.