Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Rich Wilder’

SUNY Canton Creates New Botanical Nursery for College Alumnus and Area Farmer

Friday, December 14th, 2018

SUNY Canton has created a new garden area in honor of a stalwart and pragmatic area farmer who graduated from the college in 1954.

The Canton College Foundation recently announced that an area adjacent to the college’s Peace Garden had been retooled to house the Kenneth Theobald Botanical Nursery, following donations from the namesake’s family and friends. The area will be used to cultivate seedlings that will be transplanted to become part of the verdant campus landscape.

Rajiv Narula and Barbara Rich Wilder pose in front of the Theobald memorial rock.

The effort was spearheaded by Barbara Theobald Rich Wilder, a graduate of the class of 1953 and 1970, who serves on the College Foundation’s board of directors. She said she wanted to make a contribution in her brother’s memory and her family, 15 of whom graduated from SUNY Canton, rallied to support the effort.

“Ken was a modest man, a quiet man, but he had a vision and was always looking forward,” Rich Wilder said at an event unveiling the new area. “This is not just a nursery, but an outdoor classroom for students. It is a living memorial. Seedlings planted here will grow to replace the aging trees on campus and the effort will connect with environmental studies at the college.”

After graduating with an agricultural degree, Theobald operated a farm on the Rich Road in Canton for more than 50 years. At the age of 74, he purchased a hobby orchard in Vermont and changed his focus from cattle to growing fruit-bearing trees. He was a noted conservationist with a sense of wonder about the natural world. Theobald passed away in 2016 at the age of 81.

His daughter, Carol, said Ken was an eminently humble man and a life-long learner.

A large group of family and friends gathered for the Kenneth Theobald Botanical Nursery dedication ceremony.

A large group of family and friends gathered for the Kenneth Theobald Botanical Nursery dedication ceremony. Theobald was a 1954 graduate with many ties to the college and the community.

“This project is an obvious match between a man and his mission, because it exemplifies two qualities that were central to Ken’s Life,” she said. “The first quality is education and experiential learning. The second is stewardship, rooted in a moral responsibility to build a vibrant sustainable community.”

Representatives from the Canton College Foundation were overjoyed to help facilitate the creation of the new nursery, which helps fit in with the college’s sustainability and ecological goals in addition to beautifying the campus.


About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY’s leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 15 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference.

Gift to SUNY Canton Honors Two-Time Alumna

Friday, August 19th, 2011

A recent gift made to SUNY Canton recognizes the significant impact a two-time alumna has had on both the College and local communities.

Barbara Theobald Rich Wilder, class of 1953 and 1970, will be honored at the dedication of ‘The Barbara Rich Wilder Nursing/PTA Study Suite’ at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 20. The ceremony will take place in the suite, which features a lounge area for nursing students as well as a computer and study room.

The Wilders and Dr. Kennedy

Barbara Rich Wilder (third from left) will be honored at the dedication of ‘The Barbara Rich Wilder Nursing/PTA Study Suite’ on Saturday, August 20. She is pictured with (from left) her husband, Frederick, SUNY Canton Board of Directors Chair Bernie Regan, and President Joseph L. Kennedy.

“We’re thankful for Barbara’s constant efforts to help SUNY Canton and our students succeed,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “Having her name on the suite will remind our students of the kind of professional and person they should aspire to be. We appreciate her leadership and guidance as a donor, volunteer and advocate.”

Wilder, who has served as a director on the Canton College Foundation since 2009, was unaware of the gift being made by her husband Frederick who wanted to surprise her. The gift was unveiled at a recent Canton College Foundation Board meeting.

“SUNY Canton has been great for the North Country as so many students have been able to obtain a sound education for a successful future. We feel very strongly that it is more important now to invest in SUNY Canton,” Wilder said. “Both Frederick and I hope this room will be a place for nursing and physical therapy assistant students to meet, reflect, plan, and study so they will be prepared to be among the best in all graduating health professionals.”

Wilder attended the College in 1953 and later returned as a non-traditional student in the nursing program and graduated in 1970. She then became a registered nurse and worked in the field.

Wilder has served in a number of volunteer roles throughout the community. She has served as a former trustee of the Benton Library Board and the Canton Methodist Church and was also a former board of director for St. Lawrence County Cooperative Extension, 4-H Division, and the Canton Garden Club. She has been an active volunteer for the American Red Cross, Well Child Clinics, and the Canton Rescue Squad.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.