The gift of commitment


Nathan Carter

Professor George Greenlee reflects on the platform built in large part due to contributions from his own funds.

Nathan Carter

Last May, the English department was ready to break ground for a capital improvement project, but faced delays due to the tornado.

The Kuhn Annex recently received a $6,000, 22 x 24 foot concrete slab−decorated with a compass and three Amish made picnic tables, paid for by donations from the Harry Preble Foundation and the collective efforts of the English and philosophy department. The English department mostly credits George Greenlee, professor of English and philosophy, for the project.

Greenlee said he had kicked the idea around for a long time.

“When we first moved down here I realized we had a beautiful end of the campus here but students were rushing in and rushing out of the door—they had absolutely no place to stop and pause and reflect and do what students do, which is to gather together and relax or to have coffee and read or whatever,” he said. “It’s mainly for students who want to get here early and linger or after class linger a while and visit with someone else.”

Seeing a need, Greenlee took it upon himself to put his own money into the project along with the donations of other members of the English department. Greenlee said he made his donation after he lost his home in the tornado.

“I don’t want you to get the impression that I put up $6,000,” he said. “I put up maybe a quarter of that. It might have been but I wanted to make sure it got done and was done correctly and of good quality. I was committed to it.”

Professor David Ackiss, interim chair of the English department and philosophy, said he is appreciative of the platform.

“The very first day there was a picnic table I saw two students sitting on them,” he said. “The very day that the tables were installed on the concrete pad there was a person at every one of them. It’s clear that there was a need but it’s hard to see the need when you have an empty space. It’s really good for students.”