Heritage Garden Bench Commemorates Institutional Founders

The Clarkson Service League Heritage Garden is located at the center of campus, and it now contains a permanent fixture honoring two of the institution’s most significant figures, Bishop Robert H. and Meliora Clarkson. The College installed a new bench dedicated to its founders in April, and it stands as a testament to their devotion to the institution and caring for others.

The Alumni Association unveiled the bench addition during last fall’s Alumni Weekend Heritage Garden Walk held Sept. 27. Residence Hall and Student Life Coordinator Susie Rand created an artist’s rendition of the piece, which was revealed after the dedication of new bricks in the Garden. Following the Heritage Garden Walk, the College displayed the art piece in the main campus building lobby to allow visitors, students and staff to view the memorial.

The Alumni Association split the bench’s cost with the College, and it is inscribed with the words, “In memory of our founders Bishop Robert H. and Meliora Clarkson with deep and lasting gratitude.” A vision of establishing a training school for nurses emanated from Bishop Clarkson’s observance of the care provided at one of Omaha’s only functioning hospitals, Good Samaritan Hospital, which was under the purview of the Episcopal Diocese. After the Bishop’s passing in 1884, his wife, Meliora, worked with the church deaconesses to fulfill his vision. Through their devotion, Omaha established Nebraska’s first nurse training school in 1888. The Bishop Clarkson Memorial School of Nursing soon earned a reputation for graduating skilled, professional nurses who distinguish themselves in their careers.

More than 130 years later, Clarkson College continues to draw inspiration from the hard work and devotion demonstrated by Bishop Robert H. and Meliora Clarkson. Their dedication to caring for those in need lives on in every employee, student and graduate, and the bench dedicated in their honor will inspire future generations of community members.