The Grove of Sharing

Trees have a varying abundance of gifts. And, like most any institute of higher learning, the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering largely depends on the gifts we receive from our alumni, students, faculty and friends. These gifts help us achieve our goals in the areas of undergraduate and graduate teaching, research and public service.

We have found a way for everyone to grow with us, as well as a way to recognize those who generously give through our new “Grove of Sharing” expandable tree sculpture beautifully displayed on the lobby wall of Patton Hall for all to see.

Eventually, every leaf on the tree will recognize every annual gift of $250 or more by engraving the name of individual donors. We also recognize one time gifts of $4,000 or more. Every gift makes a difference and enables us to do more, be more and give more to our students, our nation and our world.

Gifts provide critical funding for:

  • Teaching
  • Student fellowships and scholarships
  • A distinguished lecture series and professional seminars
  • Faculty and student achievements and awards
  • Recruitment support
  • Student chapter leadership
  • Cooperative education activities
  • …and so much more

Not only does the unique sculpture recognize our donors, but it becomes a part of the heritage of the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and will remain a centerpiece for all to see for many years to come.

Pledge to make an annual gift of $250 or a one time gift of $4,000 or more and we will engrave the inscription of your choice on a leaf on the tree and you will become a part of the Grove of Sharing tree and the Department’s heritage. Contact Mark Widdowson, interim Department at or Courtney Sakry, Director of External and Alumni Relations at to make your pledge today.

The Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering commissioned Sanford “Sandy” Werfel to create the Grove of Sharing sculpture that now appears in the lobby of Patton Hall. The idea for Sandy’s first Tree of Life sculpture – from which the Grove of Sharing evolved – was inspired more than 30 years ago by the artist and the director of New York’s Brooklyn School for Special Children.

The artist notes, “The tree is self-explanatory and at the same time, allows for individual interpretation. It evokes positive responses, and as its leaves expand, the tree speaks of rejuvenation and constant growth.”