By Hope Eckley, Staff Writer
Newman University’s Gardening Club has made plans to plant a redbud tree that will honor Dr. Suzanne Berg, the Professor of Communication who passed away unexpectedly in February of last year at age 36.
The tree will go in front of the Dugan Library.
“Dr. Berg was a vibrant young leader in this community. She was known for her ready wit, her constant positive outlook, and her commitment to the education of her students,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Kimberley McDowell Long.
Dr. Berg’s unexpected death impacted many students and the tree will be a way that they can mourn and remember the loss of a loved teacher, said Micah Vander Griend, president of the Gardening Club.
“The tree will symbolize the university’s appreciation for the time and energy she devoted to her students,” he said.
The tree will be planted not only to comfort the students who were able to have Berg as a teacher but also for her family and friends, Vander Griend said. Berg left behind a husband and two young children.
The choice of a redbud tree is significant.
“This tree was specifically chosen since, In the fall, its leaves turn purple, which was Dr. Berg’s favorite color,” he said.
The gardening club plans to hold a ceremony when the tree is officially being planted, though there is not an official date. The tree will be planted either in the winter or early spring, he said.
The tree will be the perfect place for visitors, friends, and family to stop by and be reminded of Berg and the impact she had on many lives, Vander Griend said.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo. kansas.com