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SON alumnae helps create garden to recharge students.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
SON alumnae helps create garden to recharge students.
Judith (Anderson) Ganton, (BSN, ’78), has been a force at Oakland University since the School of Nursing opened its doors.

 Not only was she among its first graduating classes, but also she is part of every single current SON graduation.

Ganton, chief operating officer of Lloyd Ganton Retirement Centers, which her husband founded and she helped grow in Spring Arbor, Mich., designed the nursing pin each student receives at their pinning ceremony.

She also founded the SON’s first yearbook, was a charter member of the Student Nursing Association and the nursing honor society, the precursor to Sigma Theta Tau.

 That was in addition to being 31 when she began taking OU classes, wearing other hats, including wife, mother to two, and a third daughter on the way, church volunteer, room mom and Brownie troop leader.

 “If I was going to school, I was going to give it 100 percent, so I got involved in everything I could, but the school pin is meaningful to me because it’s still being used,” Ganton said.

Ganton and her husband, Lloyd, are certain their latest gift will be used and enjoyed as well. The duo has purchased the naming rights to the garden outside the west end of the Human Health Building.

 The Judith Colson Ganton Healing Garden will serve as a respite to the busy nursing student, Ganton believes.
“I used to go to the bridge near the dorms and sit by the water to study,” she said. “This garden will give students a place to relax, get some fresh air, shut down, meditate and get it all back together to go back to work,” she said. “Nursing school is hard.”

The Gantons hope to hand pick some of the plants to complete the garden, along with a sculpture to add interest.

It’s already become a magnet for students and nature’s surprises, said Colette O’Connor, director of development for the SON.

“Last spring there was a mother duck with a next of eggs that we all enjoyed watching everyday from the windows above,” O’Connor explained. “One day, of course, we arrived to a nest of empty shells. It’s nature at its best!”

 Ganton is eager to see the finished project.

 “Having the garden at OU is going to be very, very special to me because I feel my OU education helped me grow,” she said. “It changed my life.”