Outdoor classes under shady trees can become a popular feature at Texas A&M International University with the opening of the Lamar Bruni Vergara Memorial Garden, an 8-acre park that fronts the University's Student Center, on Wednesday, April 16.
The Garden, developed through a significant gift from the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust, will be dedicated in special ceremonies scheduled at 10 a.m. that will include a Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Bishop James Tamayo.
The Garden features a series of garden "rooms" that are defined by ligostrum hedges and live oak tree parades. It is anchored by an impressive stone gazebo and framed by a decomposed granite footpath. Benches will soon be strategically placed to allow visitors to pause and take in the Garden's vistas.
The Garden merges with the University's existing landscaping and links through a series of walkways to the new Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, the Student Center and the Kinesiology-Conovcation Building.
It follows a xeriscaping approach for water conservation and prominently features plantings indigenous to South Texas, including lantana, buddleia, coreopsis, salvia, plumbago, rosemary and verbena. The University has also made it possible for those interested to purchase trees in memory of or recognition of others. Rows of dramatic live oaks are found throughout the garden and will include special plaques honoring these individuals.
Landscape architects for the Garden are Rialto Studio of San Antonio. Project architects are Kell Muñoz, also of San Antonio. Engineering for the Garden was provided by Shah Smith and Associates, Inc., of Houston and construction was by Don Kruger Construction Company of Victoria.
Lamar Bruni Vergara, born in 1910 to Annie Reiser Bruni and Louis H. Bruni, was raised and educated in Laredo and spent much of her life becoming acquainted with the city and its citizens.
Her love for the city, and a fondness for its people lead naturally to a sincere interest in the welfare of the community. Over the years, she dedicated many unselfish hours to the Catholic Church as well as local social service organizations.
As her health declined in later years, Vergara called upon her cousin J.C. Martin Jr. and longtime friend, Solomon Casseb Jr. to ensure that her mission of caring for the community would continue after her death by stipulating that the majority of her will be shared with charities of the area.
Upon her death in 1989, Martin and Casseb worked diligently to execute the legacy of Lamar Bruni Vergara through the Trust's continuous support of religious, health and educational initiatives in the community.
When Martin passed away in 2000, his son, J. C. 'Pepito' Martin III, became trustee and joined Casseb in continuing to direct the charitable activities of the Trust.
For additional information on the Lamar Bruni Vergara Memorial Garden at TAMIU, please contact the Office for Institutional Advancement at 326.2175.
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