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Outdoor classroom underway at Lyon to honor Schram’s legacy

Lyon College is nearing completion on the Dr. Mark Schram Memorial Outdoor Classroom.

The classroom is located behind Love Hall and features a wooden platform where students can gather for class. Built-in bench seating will be added on the sides. The College will later landscape around the classroom to turn the space into a poetry garden.

Dr. Robert Gregerson said the outdoor classroom is a great way to honor Schram’s legacy at Lyon College.

“Mark was a dear friend, an amazing teacher and a faculty member totally dedicated to student success,” he said.

Gregerson was a faculty member for 12 years in the biology program with Schram. His gift helped make the outdoor classroom possible.

“I had the great pleasure of helping to design the Derby Center and watch it rise from the ground,” he said. “I am happy to play a very small role in helping to continue the tradition of student and faculty collaborative learning by funding the Dr. Mark Schram Memorial Outdoor Classroom.”

Executive Director of Advancement Gina Garrett said the project reflects the College’s “personal and collaborative” approach to education.

“Students, faculty and staff enjoy close-knit relationships,” she said, “and those connections- both inside and outside the classroom- build trust and enhance learning.”

Garrett said she enjoyed collaborating with Schram and Gregerson during their years at Lyon and believes both would have used the outdoor classroom frequently if it had been available during their teaching careers.

“So, I was pleased and grateful when the Gregersons embraced the vision,”she said, “generously funding construction of the space and naming it for Schram.”

Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Cassia Oliveira said the outdoor classroom will be a great addition to the College’s campus thanks to Gregerson’s generosity. The space will be multi-purpose, serving as a place where classes can be held safely while enjoying the campus’s beauty and as a central location for meetings, gatherings, yoga classes and more.

“This space will benefit all members of the Lyon community, as well as the local community,” she said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Oliveira had been trying to find a way to hold classes safely and had the idea for the outdoor location.

“If Schram were alive, he would be the first one taking advantage of the outdoor classroom as he was not just an ecologist, but a true nature lover.”

“As professors at Lyon, both Bob and Mark found value in time spent in nature,” Garrett said, “and each enjoyed sharing that love of the outdoors with students.”

She concluded, “This space not only allows for a safer, in-person learning environment during the pandemic, but it further cements the legacies of these two incredible professors on this campus.”