Alumni Heritage Walk

Oh what a feeling

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Brenton Stacey

Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

Paver push shows alumni see walk as lasting legacy

Wow! Your support of our Alumni Heritage Walk has now raised almost $7000 over the past few weeks for preservation and restoration projects on the Lake Macquarie campus.

The terracotta-paved path between historic Bethel and College Halls now honours about 350 alumni. Their names and final year (if student) or years of service (if staff) are etched on black granite pavers along the edge of the path.

A post-Homecoming 2021 promotional campaign ahead of a first-ever price rise encouraged alumni to order about 70 new pavers. The response surprised Alumni Relations Officer Rachel Humphries. “It’s so lovely to have received orders from such a range of alumni, from the young to those ordering for parents and grandparents who are no longer with us.” One order came as a gift for an alumnus of 1909.

“I’ve noticed a beautiful combination of fondness, respect and longing when talking to alumni about pavers,” says Rachel. “Ordering one to place in the walk is a physical way of preserving a sense of belonging. Avondale is a place so many are proud to have been to and been part of. Even having a family member’s name placed in the walk has special meaning.”

Alumnus Dean Bennetts, who heads Seventh-day Adventist Schools in northern New South Wales, purchased a paver for his late mother, Rosalie (nee Judd), who graduated from the secretarial course in 1958. “I felt a bit flat on her birthday because her grave’s in Victoria and even if I could travel, it’s just too far, so doing this has been a real joy.”

The idea of the walk appealed to Dr Lyell Heise and other Avondale Alumni leaders who launched it at Homecoming 1999—centenarian Laura Kent, an alumna of 1920, donated and unveiled the first paver. “The walk had the potential to last a long time,” says Lyell. “Placing a paver in it is about as permanent a memorial as you’ll get in the harsh Australian climate. And it doesn’t cost too much, either.” The walk also reflects Avondale’s intergenerational history. “If your name’s on a paver that lasts, there’s a good chance one of your kids your grandkids will see it and think, That’s cool.”

A feature of the walk is its informality. Pavers are placed in groups such as couples or families or randomly in available spaces but names are recorded alphabetically in an Alumni Heritage Walk Register. Each alumnus receives a certificate certifying placement of their paver in the walk.

Avondale invests at least $100 from the sale of each paver into capital projects with a heritage focus. The latest project, completed in part with funding from the walk: the makeover of a student hub in College Hall. “Things do change at Avondale—we’re now a university—but our ethos and mission do not,” says Rachel. “Transforming lives to serve the world for good is still core business. The heritage features on campus, and often the story behind them, are a reminder of this. They’re part of what makes the Avondale experience so meaningful.”

Leave a legacy

The Alumni Heritage Walk honours you as alumni of Avondale University. Purchase your paver today. Only $195. Thank you for your support.