A ribbon cutting was held Oct. 14 for the College’s Walk of Honor, a circular series of engraved bricks that pay tribute to the numerous memories and accomplishments of alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and many others who have connections to SUNY New Paltz.
Created by the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, the Walk of Honor consists of brick pavers engraved with a personal message. At this initial celebration, the College debuted 535 bricks and will install another group of bricks each August.
“I donated a brick because I wanted to make sure that the memory of what I had when I was here, is still here, long after I’m gone,” said Renee Padmore-Baccus ’91 (Black Studies and Psychology). “That includes making sure all of the people that we loved are represented on this campus, forever.”
Inspiration for the Walk of Honor came from alumnus and Vice President of Wealth Management for UBS Financial Services Bruce Orenstein ’68 (Secondary Education) who felt compelled to make an impact as his 50th reunion neared.
Orenstein approached Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Erica Marks with the idea of creating the path. He then set out to encourage his fellow alumni to take part, along with the help of his wife Sandi L. (Schwartz) Orenstein’67 (Education).
“This Walk of Honor helps to inspire future generations of alumni,” said Orenstein. “It’s important to create a legacy to honor all that New Paltz gave to us. Giving away scholarships is part of that legacy, but this is one way to do more.”
The Walk of Honor is located on campus. The bricks encircle the modern sculpture Large Hybrid, created by renowned artist Richard Hunt and given to New Paltz by The Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in 2002. There is not a limit to the number of engraved bricks that can be installed because the Walk of Honor will extend onto connecting pathways beyond the sculpture as donations are received.
A brick can be engraved for a $150 minimum donation to the Foundation. Donations go to the Fund for New Paltz, which is used to finance programs and activities for students. Nearly $96,000 has been donated so far. Some bricks have been dedicated in honor of friends, some in memory of family members. Some are tributes to professors and coaches, fraternities and sororities. Some have words of wisdom (“DO IT WITH PASSION OR NOT AT ALL”); some have private messages (“WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE MOUNTAIN”). The only limit to what a brick can say is that the message must be between one and three lines, and no more than 21 characters per line.