On September 22, the SEBS/NJAES Office of Alumni and Community Engagement hosted the Rutgers Rising Memorial Service to remember recently deceased alumni, faculty and staff from the school and the experiment station.
Nearly 100 faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends attended the event held at the Cook Student Center to pay their respects and celebrate their loved ones. Guests first gathered in the multipurpose room for welcome remarks by Executive Dean Laura Lawson and were later directed to the Heron Rising Patio located just outside the student center. With the assistance of Brian McGonigle, Manager of Alumni and Community Engagement, family, friends, and colleagues were invited to affix a bronze name plate of their deceased loved one to a standing plaque in the center of the patio space. Attendees then reconvened in the student center to partake in a light reception of finger sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and other refreshments from Rutgers Dining Services before commencing with remembrances of those being memorialized:
Denise A. Bartone, marketing specialist with the Rutgers Food Innovation Center – South
Alumnus Christopher “Chi” Modu CC’89, Environmental and Business Economics major
Alumnus Christopher B. Moncrief CC’08, Exercise Science and Sports Studies major
Alumna Jeannette Rea-Keywood CC’87, Home Economics major and program director for 4-H Youth Development
Dr. Gary L. Taghon, associate professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences
Alumna Barbara L. Tangel DC’72, GSNB’74, Foods and Nutrition major, and instructor and Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics for the Department of Nutritional Sciences
We are grateful to the families of the deceased for allowing us to honor their loved ones in this way. It was a wonderful evening to remember, and reconnect with, our community.
All are welcome to visit the Heron Rising Patio and pay their respects to the more than 150 people whose names are enshrined there.
History of Rutgers Rising
In 1990, former dean of students at Cook College, Lee Schneider CAES’70, GSNB’72, GSED’88, had the foresight to investigate how other land-grant institutions kept alive the memories of their faculty, staff, students and alumni who had passed away. Schneider, who has since retired, discovered that there needed to be a space where folks can go to remember and pay their respects.
Alumnus Scott Ernst CC’85 had the privilege of conceptualizing and designing such a space, which is distinctly marked with intricate brickwork in the shape of a five-foot heron rising from a pond, amidst ripples of water. It is an inspired design, and we are grateful for Scott’s ingenuity and creativity.
The late professor, Roy DeBoer GSNB’59, Department of Landscape Architecture, chose the river birch trees and many of the plantings surrounding the patio. Scott and Roy, who touched the lives of so many of our students and remained actively involved in the life of the school even after his retirement, had the patio built in one weekend as a student project.
Since its creation, the patio has been a quiet space for reflection. It is most appropriate, then, that it became the place for the Rutgers Rising memorial plaques and this remembrance event.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event was last held in 2019.