Mercer County Community College faculty, staff, students and alumni honored the late Mary Hayes on May 10 at the West Windsor campus.
The college dedicated a garden to Hayes, who taught mathematics and computer science at MCCC from 1980 to 2006.
The Mary Hayes Tribute Garden was funded through a $35,000 multi-year donation by Hayes’ sister, Joan Silver. It includes a gazebo, walkway, paving and plantings. It was planned and installed by students in the Horticulture program over the past 18 months.
Students in Basic Landscaping and Planning II, under instructor Carrie Stanker, submitted the initial designs and Silver chose among the top three, pulling elements from two different designs for the final plan. Students studying Landscape Construction, taught by Kevin Minton, took over from there this past fall.
Students plan to add plantings to screen the utilities and parking lot and plant seed to re-establish the lawn around the gazebo.
MCCC faculty and alumni spoke fondly of Hayes during the opening ceremony on May 10.
“Professor Hayes was an inspiring and encouraging instructor. She was well known as helpful and patient with her students and her colleagues. She remains an important member of the Mercer family,” MCCC president Patricia C. Donohue said at the ceremony.
Donohue observed that a garden tribute is an fitting memorial for Hayes, who was a master gardener who “could coax things to bloom year-round.”
Mathematics professor Art Schwartz said Hayes was an outstanding teacher and student were lucky to have her.
“Her students loved her. They were better off because they knew her,” Schwartz said.
Former students remembered her as a dedicated teacher.
“There are teachers who go the extra mile and Mary Hayes was one of them,” said alumna Helen Vizaniaris, who took computer science classes with Hayes before finding a job in Hamilton Township.
More information is online at mccc.edu.