Campus News

September 15, 2010

Campaign Emory

Oxford outdoor classroom honors Fleming

Mary and Bond Fleming

Former Oxford College Dean Bond Fleming was a philosophy professor and loved to teach and learn. But as his friends and neighbors knew well, he was also a passionate gardener. He loved working outside at his Oxford home near campus: tilling, planting and, above all, picking fresh vegetables to share with his family and friends.

So a memorial gift from the Fleming children to support the creation of an outdoor classroom — not many yards from his garden — seemed a natural.

Becky Fleming Crosby ’71C, Mary Dell Fleming Palazzolo, Jane Fleming Keene ’69G and John Fleming ’70C have pledged $75,000. And they welcome donations from friends and alumni to help raise an additional $25,000 to name the Neal Bond Fleming and Mary Louise Fleming Classroom near the Oxford Library and Academic Commons building.

"Obviously, we wanted to honor our parents' memory. We also thought it was important that their devotion to Oxford College and their many years of service be recognized in a significant way. We are pleased this gift combines those two objectives," Crosby says.

“That it reminds us of Dad’s love of gardening and the outdoors makes it just that much more special.”  
Fleming, who died in June 2009, came to Oxford College as dean in 1966 and led a decade of growth at Oxford, continuing Oxford's efforts to build a solid financial footing and to strengthen its place within Emory University.

During his tenure as dean, he and his wife, Mary Louise, who died in June 2007, were known for their warmth and hospitality — which more often than not included vegetables from Fleming’s garden, prepared by Mary Louise.

Mary Louise Fleming, a graduate of Georgia State College for Women, was posthumously awarded an Honorary Alumna Award from Oxford in 2009 for her integral part in her husband's career in general and specifically at Oxford, in addition to her own career as a school librarian.

“We are very grateful for this generous gift, which will support expansion of the Oxford Library’s innovative instruction program. This is yet another example of the Fleming family’s legacy of generosity, which has had a profound effect in shaping today’s Oxford College,” says Oxford Dean Stephen Bowen.

Under Fleming’s leadership, the Oxford campus added new library and athletic facilities and renovated the student center. Recruitment efforts resulted in Oxford's highest enrollment to date. Fleming also designated Oxford graduates moving on to Emory to complete their bachelor’s degrees as "continuees,” rather than "transfers," to better represent Oxford's place within the University. He established the Oxford Board of Counselors and continued to attend its meetings until 2008.

The Flemings remained in Oxford for more than three decades following the dean’s retirement and both continued to be active participants in the life of the college.

The gift is part of Campaign Emory, a $1.6 billion fundraising endeavor that combines private support and Emory’s people, places, and programs to make a powerful contribution to the world.

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    If you would like to contribute to the Neal Bond Fleming and Mary Louise Fleming Classroom Fund, please contact Kevin Smyrl, assistant dean for development and alumni relations, at 770.784.4637.