June 17, Geoffrey S. Mearns, Ball State University President, along with Maureen McCarthy, Dean of College of Science and Humanities, conducted the official Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse expansion ribbon cutting ceremony. There was not a seat to be had, as some in attendance had to stand due to the large crowd of people present for this ceremony.
McCarthy opened up the ceremony by thanking the many people in attendance as well as those who made the expansion possible, before introducing President Mearns. President Mearns opened with a couple of jokes before thanking, like McCarthy, those who made the expansion possible, whether that be through their physical work building the Education Center or those who donate to the program and university.
President Mearns spoke about the indoor beehive this new building is scheduled to feature, built by Ball State carpenters, as well as the section of the building that operates like a garage door, opening up part of the building to the outside, leading to Christy Woods, where wildflowers are set to grow. He went on to tell a story about Erica Oliver, Environmental Education and Greenhouse Coordinator, and her struggle to teach and present lessons on campus due to limited space provided, and how this new center eliminates that problem for her.
"Because of all of you, Erica no longer has to face these challenges to deliver these lessons," President Mearns said. "Because of you and so many others, including students involved in various clubs and immersive learning projects, they can use this room as a gathering space to socialize and learn year round, no matter the weather... I'm confident that children and adults will have an opportunity to learn and grow and thrive in this beautiful facility."
Additionally, President Mearns awarded Dr. Joe Rinard the President's Medal of Distrinction for his contributions to the university and the surrounding areas. President Mearns recalled hearing a story from Dr. Rinard, about a conversation with former professor Dr. Robert Cooper, that inspired Dr. Rinard to become a philantrophist and make many contributions to Ball State University over the years.
President Mearns expressed his gratitude for Dr. Rinard and made it clear why Dr. Rinard is worthy of the President's Medal of Distinction.
"I believe that Dr. Rinard's legacy will live on, it will live in his committment to creating this outstanding greenhouse, into creating more educational opportunities for our students and for so many members of the community," President Mearns said. "...I recognize your many professional accomplishments and the many ways in which your leadership and your generous philanthropic support will have an enduring impact on our university for many years to come."
As President Mearns concluded his speech preceeding awarding Dr. Rinard with the medal, Dr. Rinard rose from his seat to a sustained round of applause from all in attendance.
Finally, McCarthy re-introduced President Mearns and Dr. Rinard, as well as members of the Ball State University Board of Trustees, Dr. Rinard's daughter and many other members from organizations that made this expansion possible. Once all gathered, the ceremonial ribbon was expanded, a photo was taken and the ribbon was cut, making the expansion and introduction of the Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse and Environmental Education Center official.