UHV NewsWire – UHV breaks new ground in Kay’s Grove Memorial Garden



The family and friends of Kay Kerr Walker, a longtime supporter of the UH and UHV system, paved the way Thursday in a ceremony for Kay’s Grove, a memorial garden in Walker’s honor. In the photo on the left, UHV President Bob Glenn with members of Kay’s family, including his sister, Carter Lee; son, Bruce Walker; husband, Ron Walker; and his daughter, Carter Dugan.

A render shows what Kay’s Grove should look like when completed. Graphics by Jonathan Williams with Johnny Steele Design, Inc. Houston.

University of Houston-Victoria leaders and the family of Kay Kerr Walker on Thursday unveiled the site that will be Kay’s Grove, a 29,000-square-foot memorial landscaped garden that students, faculty, staff and visitors can enjoy. on the campus.

Walker was a long-time supporter of the UH system and the UHV. She served on the board of the UH system from 1993 to 1999 as vice president, secretary and member of the executive committee. For years she served on various UHV research and art committees and as a non-voting member of the UHV President’s Regional Advisory Council.

She died on September 1, 2020 from complications related to COVID-19. The garden will be located on the west side of University North, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

Kay walker

Kay walker

“Kay Walker’s impact on UHV is almost immeasurable,” said UHV President Bob Glenn. “His time as a board member of the UH System saw many changes here that were a direct result of his advocacy. After her term on the board of trustees expired, she continued to be a strong advocate for the university. She understood in the clearest and most direct terms everything the UHV can do that is good for this city, this county and this region, and she made sure that we kept that promise. I can’t think of anyone else who deserves this honor more, and this garden will ensure that their legacy will be remembered forever. “

UHV executives and members of the Walker family spoke at the groundbreaking event along with landscape architects from Johnny Steel Design of Houston. María Gaztambide, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art for the UH System, spoke at the ceremony for the artwork that will be permanently installed at Kay’s Grove. The garden will feature a sculpture by the late Texan artist Jesús Bautista Moroles and artwork commissioned specifically for the site by contemporary artist Melissa Miller based in Austin. Kay Walker admired Miller’s works.

A ceremonial tree was also planted during the inauguration. The garden should be finished in the spring.

In addition to serving on the board of regents for the UH System, Walker was instrumental in helping UHV acquire tuition income obligations for the purchase of land and a new building. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of the UHV.

She and her husband, Ron Walker, are also long-time contributors to the university. In 2014, they donated $ 250,000 to name the Kay and Ron Walker auditorium inside UHV University North. Later that year, the walkers received the Community Partnership Award at the UHV President’s Annual Report and Awards of Excellence event. They also helped create the Kay Kerr Walker Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a UHV student in the area.

The idea for Kay’s Grove came to Ron as he prayed in a garden outside Citizen’s Medical Center while Kay battled COVID-19 inside. The garden Ron prayed in is the one Kay helped design. She loved nature and beauty, and the hospital garden was a place where people could have a moment of peace and quiet when they had loved ones in the hospital, he said.

The name “Kay’s Grove” embodies the whimsy and beauty of the Memorial Landscape Garden, but it’s also an easy, welcoming and fun name for visitors to remember, Ron said. The garden is almost entirely funded by donors, with nearly 320 donors contributing to this unique project. The garden will be located near the middle of the campus where students, faculty, staff and community members can spend time alone or spend time with friends and family.

“This garden on the UHV campus will be a place where people can have a moment of peace, contemplate, laugh, fall in love, study and create memories,” said Ron. “Our family wanted to honor Kay’s dedication to the community and the lives of individuals. She knew the value of education and the value of community, and we know it would be something Kay would have liked the students and the community to like and appreciate. We hope Kay’s Grove will be an asset to the UHV and Victoria communities, and we thank the community and their friends for their generosity towards this project.

The Memorial Garden was designed by Johnny Steel Design of Houston. It will include native and adapted plants with the aim of having different colors and textures throughout the seasons so that the landscape can be enjoyed year round, said senior landscape architect Jonathan Williams. Different plants will bloom in the spring, summer and fall, which will help create a keepsake for visitors when they visit the garden in any season.

Kay’s Grove will be located west of University North and will extend to the detention pond between University North and University Center. The grove, while being a garden, will have a landscape designed for traffic, much like a courtyard so visitors can easily walk through it, Williams said. Some of the plants that visitors can expect to see include native Texas flowers such as Echinacea and Indian brush, almond verbena, Turk’s cap, American amorchid, fringe trees, l ‘iris and various roses in bedding. There will also be rocks placed to be used as seats for visitors.

“This design will create a connection between the buildings and other spaces on campus and be a new place of passage for people,” said Williams. “When creating a project like this, it starts with a specific idea of ​​the family and then slowly turns into something that can be enjoyed by others as a celebration of life at any time of the year. year. Kay’s Grove will be an inviting and beautiful place for everyone to enjoy.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to over 80 academic programs in schools of the arts and sciences; Business Administration; and Education, health professions and human development. UHV offers face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an education site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to raise awareness of state colleges and universities and the important role they play in providing high quality education and accessible to an increasingly diverse student body, as well as contributing to regional development and the state’s economic development.


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