A letter from a reader: Living in 'ethereal surroundings'

July 16, 2008:

I found your article "Growing the campus" in the June 11 PAW absolutely splendid! The cover photograph, as well as those on pages 21, 23, and 25, invokes both memories from long ago as well as the existing beauty resulting from the extraordinary work of Beatrix Jones Farrand and her successors. 

I recall as if it were yesterday the first time I drove to the Graduate College to move into my assigned room. It was June 1960. I recall that as I followed careful directions in my little red car, the final approach was incredibly beautiful. At that time I had no idea who had designed the Graduate College, or who had done such a masterful job with the plantings, but I remember thinking, "Wow, I am actually going to live here!" My overwhelming feeling was that this was an abode of scholars, that I had better do something useful with my life, and that I likely would never again live in such ethereal surroundings. Almost 50 years later the answers remain, Yes, yes, and yes!

My room was just behind and to the right of the statue of Dean West. Barely visible, just to the right of the bench, is a phenomenal espaliered wisteria vine. I vividly recall opening the windows in the spring while studying physics and inhaling the gentle fragrance of that very same vine's flowers. 

  If indeed imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Beatrix Farrand would be happy to know that just a few weeks ago Nancy and I planted "William Wisteria" (we are both absurdly anthropomorphic) on a little trellis in our backyard. 

Saunderstown, R.I.

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