Generous gift creates the Susie Roush Campus Beautification Fund

Posted by Centre News in News, Sustainable Centre 13 Dec 2012

As the first lady of Centre College, Susie Roush is tireless in her support of students, in her travel with President Roush to numerous College events and in her constant work behind the scenes to make Centre a better place.

One of Susie’s greatest contributions is her devotion to making the Centre campus a truly beautiful space. A generous gift from trustee David Grissom and his wife, Marlene, will ensure that these efforts continue for years to come.

john susie roush

The Grissoms have made a gift of $500,000 to create an endowment in Susie’s honor called the Susie Roush Campus Beautification Fund. Income from the endowment will be used to enhance landscaping, with special emphasis on acquiring and maintaining deciduous trees throughout the campus.

“I am so very grateful to David and Marlene Grissom for this incredibly generous gift,” said Susie, “and I am deeply honored to have it established in my name. This endowment will ensure that there will always be available funds to responsibly maintain, replace and develop the campus forest at Centre College.”

Susie’s love of trees was developed at a young age. Her father taught her the importance of planting trees for the next generation and beyond, and trimming and maintaining trees on her parent’s farm continues to be a family project and a labor of love.

Her devotion to Centre’s “urban forest” is based as much on a sense of beauty as it is on an appreciation for conservation, sustainability and environmentalism.

Besides seeing trees “as incredible specimens of nature, whose presence offers a constant yet ever-changing beauty as the seasons of the year unfold,” Susie insists that they are critical to the health of our environment. Even more, she says, “Their shade provides a perfect shelter for an outdoor class on a warm spring day and a refuge from the hot sun on a summer afternoon.”

She is also quick to remind that trees provide a link to the past, and she still mourns the recent loss of several old giants, some upwards of 150 years or more.

“The old red oak that stood at the northwest corner of the football field,” she reminisces, “may have been a seedling when Abraham Lincoln was elected president, and it was certainly privy to the revelry of Bo McMillan and the 1921 C6H0 team upon their return to campus.”

Ever humble and gracious, Susie shares credit for the beautiful campus with a host of staff and faculty, primarily the facilities management team, which places a high priority on the campus landscape.

“I am often referred to as the ‘guardian of the trees’,” Susie says, “but I am only one of a ‘flock’ of guardians that include Preston Miles, Anne Lubbers, Ed Sullivan, Don Goode and Nancy Lackey, as well as trustees John Barton and David Grissom.”

Supporting the continued hard work of this flock was exactly what the Grissoms had in mind when making this gift.

“More than anything,” say David and Marlene, “the gift is intended to assure that under Susie’s stewardship and guidance, the campus will be a place of beauty, serenity and dignity for generations to come.”

By Michael Strysick