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Evansville Campus

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Gloria's Garden

History of Gloria's Garden

The garden began as a small box garden project in 2016, funded initially by the women's philanthropy Circle of Ivy.  

Gloria's Garden was named for Gloria Schwartz, the former director of Fitness and Wellness at Ivy Tech.

The garden first began in the backyard of a home acquired by the College. Campus volunteers tended the garden and would share produce that was grown with the students, similar to how Gloria would share her home garden produce.  

Eventually, the house was razed and the lot leveled with the vision that the garden would expand into a space for learning, sharing, and embracing peaceful reflection.  

In 2022, the Circle of Ivy again funded the garden as plans were finalized to build out a monarch waystation and walkways.  In 2023, the garden came to life once again and a mural was painted on the two main fences and shed by Ivy Tech Visual Communications student Graden Harrell and artists Dakri Sinclair, along with several volunteers from Ivy Tech. A thriving produce harvest took place, which was made available for students in the Lamkin Center for Student Success.  

SUPPORT OF Gloria's Garden

Interested in being part of the future of Gloria's Garden? You can support in a number of ways! Learn about all the opportunities to support Gloria's Garden by clicking here.

Please contact Liesl Disch at or 812-429-9848 to discuss sponsorship interests.

  • Much of Gloria's Garden has been funded through the Women's Philanthropy Circle of Ivy. Through donations of the members, the organization has selected the garden as one of the recipients. Volunteers also donate time and plants to the garden. 

  • A dedication and ribbon cutting took place on June 11, 2024, to re-dedicate the work of Gloria's Garden, and recognize those who have made it possible.

    Speaking at the event were Chancellor Daniela Vidal, Amy Lutzel, director of the Fitness Center and former employee of the Garden's namesake, Gloria Schwartz, and Gloria's daughter Michele Blankenship. The Schwartz family members in attendance cut the ribbon.

    The garden is used to provide fresh produce for students and employees, and the native flowers in the middle is a butterfly waystation designed to provide host plants for butterflies to stop, get nectar, and lay eggs for future butterflies, as well as for other insects.

    Chancellor Daniela Vidal welcomes everyone and gives a brief history of Gloria's Garden and its start in 2016.

    Chancellor Daniela Vidal kicks off the event and shares a bit of the Gloria's Garden history.

    Michele Blankenship, daughter of Gloria Schwartz, the garden's namesake

    Michele Blankenship, daughter of Gloria Schwartz - the garden's namesake - talks about her mother at dedication ceremony.

    Amy Lutzel, director of the Fitness Center, and former employee of Gloria Schwartz, shares memories of Gloria.

    Amy Lutzel, director of the Fitness Center, and the catalyst behind originally organizing the garden concept back in 2016, speaks of her former supervisor - Gloria Schwartz.

    The Schwartz family cuts the ribbon!

    The Schwartz Family cut the ribbon!

    Graden Herrell and Dakri Sinclair, the artists behind the 2023 mural painted on the fence, a tree, and the shed.

    Graden Harrell and Dakri Sinclair, were the artists behind the mural on the fences, tree and tool shed. This project was completed in 2023.

    Attendees of the dedication of Gloria's garden explore.