Samford Dedicates New Bolding Rose Garden

Posted by Philip Poole on 2009-05-08

Calling it a "noble, spectacular memorial to a godly and virtuous woman," Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland led a May 8 dedication ceremony for the new Gertha Earwood Bolding Memorial Rose Garden on the Samford campus.

The garden was a gift from Mrs. Bolding's daughter, Samford alumna Bonnie Bolding Swearingen. The terraced garden features prize-winning roses, greenery, benches and a fountain and connects Bonnie Bolding Swearingen Hall and Divinity Hall.

Saying the garden was the first of what she hoped would be several rose gardens on the campus, Swearingen encouraged the gathered crowd of family, friends and other guests to follow her example. "I hope that each of you, if you have a special occasion, to come to Samford and say that you want to plant a rose in honor of someone."

Westmoreland acknowledged Swearingen and her three sisters and said "to the degree that daughters reflect their mothers, we know that Gertha Bolding was an extraordinary lady." Bolding raised seven children and was a pastor's wife before her death in 1973.

He noted that the dedication was intentionally planned for Mother's Day weekend. "We come . . . to honor the mother of this vibrant family. In remembering Mrs. Bolding, we recall our own mother and those who nurtured us."

W. Clark Watson, chairman of Samford's board of trustees, called the garden "another major jewel in Samford crown. We will benefit from Mrs. Swearingen's vision to enhance this corner of the campus as a place of rest, reflection and inspiration."

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ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY -- Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,509 students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.