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MU Dedicates Susan Anding Skelton Memorial Garden

Sept. 14, 2007

Story Contact:  Kevin Carlson, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. — It has been said that beauty captures one's attention, while personality captures one's heart. The newly unveiled Susan Anding Skelton Memorial Garden on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia — like the woman who lent it her name — promises to do both.

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, UM System Interim President Gordon Lamb and a host of family, friends and alumni joined U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) in dedicating the memorial garden Friday to his late wife, who served as president of MU's Pan-Hellenic Association and was a member of Delta Delta Delta and the Association of Women Students before graduating with a bachelor's degree in education in 1958.

As the wife of a Congressman, Mrs. Skelton championed countless causes. She devoted innumerable hours to the International Club III, an organization of Congressional and Ambassador's spouses, serving as both president and vice president of the club. She also helped young people as a member of Congressional Families for Drug-Free Youth, and she supported America's Armed Forces as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United States Navy Society of Sponsors.

“Susie loved this University,” Deaton said at the dedication ceremony. “She made many friends and blossomed as a leader. Her education gave her the breadth of knowledge she would need for the full life ahead of her. It is my privilege to dedicate this garden to the memory of a true stateswoman, Susan Anding Skelton. Her contributions to the nation and the world will be remembered forever here at the University of Missouri. And the beauty of the garden will provide a moment of respite for all who pass this place.”

The project was the brainchild of Larry and Marilyn McMullen, MU alumni and friends of the Skelton family who organized a campaign to raise money for a garden dedicated to Mrs. Skelton. Many of the 63 donors that gave more than $30,000 to the fund drive for the garden were present for the ceremony.

Located on the east side of the Carnahan Quadrangle, the garden features several varieties of coneflowers. This includes Missouri's native purple coneflower and several related species and cultivars, including some of the new Big Sky hybrids which will provide color throughout the summer. It will be awash in vibrant pink flowers from the Prairie Fire Crabapples each spring, and Fall will offer an equal bounty of color from the leaves of the feathery golden-yellow Blue Stars, maroon Heavenly Bamboo, orange crabapple leaves and maroon crabapple fruit. Following in the footsteps of the University's early leaders, the current administration aims to mirror the tree-lined Francis Quadrangle by planting gardens and trees on the Carnahan Quadrangle.

The gardens at MU are a campus-wide collection of botanical specimens that not only attract, inspire and delight campus visitors, but also provide a living classroom for educators, researchers and students. The Mizzou Botanic Garden contains thousands of species and plant varieties, including herbaceous perennials, annual flower displays and woody plant collections on nearly 300 acres.