Retired Professor Provides For New Campus Gardens

April 12, 2005
News Photo 2762

See more photos from the Black Gardens and other campus locations in a Spring Photo Feature by Chris Hansen, director of Baylor's photography services.

Watch the dedication ceremony via streaming video on

The Baylor University campus is in full bloom, thanks to a generous donation from a retired Baylor professor that has established magnificent new gardens in the heart of campus.

Sadie Jo Black, a Baylor graduate who taught for 35 years in the department of family and consumer sciences, established the Sadie Jo Black Gardens Endowment Fund at Baylor to enhance the beauty of Founders Mall. Plaques located at each end of the mall extend an invitation to students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Baylor campus: "May all who enter the gardens find inspiration and peace."

Since she was a small child, Black has loved flowers and gardening. In her rural childhood home of Teague, she would venture out and dig up blossoming weeds and Indian Paintbrushes and then plant them in her family's own flowerbeds.

"My attitude was, 'May all your weeds be wildflowers,'" Black recalled. "So it seemed to be natural to want to create more beauty here on Baylor's campus."

The Black Gardens include thousands of beautiful perennial flowers framed by a manicured lawn and boxwoods. Two benches are positioned so visitors to the garden can sit and enjoy the beauty. Visitors to the gardens also are often greeted by the melodious sounds of the bells in the McLane Carillon at Pat Neff Hall. The Black Gardens were officially dedicated on April 11.

"I think the area allotted for these gardens is one of the prettiest views on campus, with Pat Neff Hall on the north end and the Judge Baylor statue and Waco Hall on the south end," Black said. "It is an area of campus with a lot of traffic flow of people, so I hope those walking back and forth can stop and enjoy the gardens."

The Black Gardens tie into the Baylor 2012 imperative that seeks to "construct useful and aesthetically pleasing physical spaces on Baylor's campus." Imperative VIII focuses on the priority of enhancing community by improving the physical environment and giving increased attention to the aesthetic value of campus.

"Baylor's campus is lovely and always has been, and I hope these gardens will add to that atmosphere," Black said.

Black, who resides in Waco, graduated from Baylor in 1950 and was an assistant professor at Baylor until her retirement in 1992 after 35 years of service to the university. She has been a faithful supporter of Baylor for many years, and in recognition of her gifts she has been honored with the James Huckins and Pat Neff medallions of the Medallion Fellowship. She has created three endowed scholarships in memory of family members: her parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.D. (Dial and Tula) Black Sr.; her brother, Mr. W.D. (Dub) Black Jr.; and her sister-in-law, Mrs. W.D. (Betty) Black Jr.

In addition to the scholarships, Black is a supporter of the Armstrong Browning Guardian Angels, Baylor/Waco Foundation, The Presidents Club and the Baylor Bear Foundation. Black is a member of Old Main Society, Baylor's Development Council and the Alumni Association. She is an active member of First Baptist Church, Waco.

For more information, contact Sonja Hogg, senior director of development at Baylor, at (254) 710-2561 or

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