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Welness Garden Rendering

Plans for the Wellness Garden Grow Thanks to Donor Support

As a University of Nevada, Reno English professor, Cheryll Glotfelty spends a lot of time in Frandsen Humanities, a building bookended by the lush greenery of Manzanita Lake and The University Quad. So it might surprise you to hear that the other end of campus is constantly on her mind.

“Campus began on the south end, so the landscaping is already beautiful – mature and established,” said Glotfelty, who has served as chair of the University’s Arboretum Board since 2014. “Our board is continually brainstorming ways to beautify the north end of campus.”

Another fan of upper campus is a fellow University Arboretum Board member – Marty Sillito, University of Nevada, Reno Assistant Director of Grounds Services, whose landscaping responsibilities include the health sciences campus.

“I’ve been wanting to design some sort of a zen or holistic garden on campus for a long time. Then we received a call that the Nevada Donor Network wanted to establish a place on campus to commemorate organ, tissue and eye donors. After some discussions with them, the Wellness Garden came together,” Sillito said.

The Wellness Garden, which is the first of its kind on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, has been planned in five phases. Thanks to funding from the Nevada Donor Network, the first phase was able to break ground on the southwest side of the Pennington Medical Education Building May 23. The completed space will include a plaque honoring Nevada Donor Network contributors.

“Nevada Donor Network is proud to partner with the School of Medicine to establish the Wellness Garden. Heroic organ, eye and tissue donors and their courageous families will be honored in this space. We hope that as the next generations of health care practitioners, researchers and public health officials experience the garden, they feel profoundly inspired by the heroic donors and their families whose decision to donate allowed others a second chance at life,” said David Estorga, Nevada Donor Network’s northern Nevada services supervisor.

A three-tiered water feature is planned, made possible with gifts in support of the University’s Anatomical Donation Program. When complete, the calming sounds of running water will provide a tranquil environment for medical students, faculty and visitors to enjoy, as well as a place to memorialize whole body donations to the School of Medicine, fulfilling a dream of Joyce King, School of Medicine anatomical donation program administrator.

“We’ve been working with Ranna Nash, the School of Medicine’s coordinator for academic enrichment, who has helped us understand the amount of stress medical students are under. This will be a nice, outdoor space where they can go to destress.” Glotfelty said.

When all five phases are complete, the Wellness Garden will encircle the Pennington Medical Education Building.

The University’s Arboretum Board is looking for new board members with ties to north campus. Interested faculty, staff and students can contact Cheryll Glotfelty for more information, (775) 682-6395 or To learn more about supporting the Wellness Garden, please contact Seema Donahoe, development director, (775) 682-7304 or

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