Why They Give

The Elizabeth Herring Garden

On the north side of campus, across the Peabody Park Bridge, is one of UNCG’s most beloved gardens. Located outside the School of Music Building, the Elizabeth Herring Garden stands as a living memorial from one dedicated UNCG patron to his wife, celebrating her love of music and nature.

Dr. William B. Herring, MD, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, shared a deep love of music with his wife, Elizabeth. A Wake Forest University graduate, Elizabeth “Betty” Hawks Herring was active in the music world in North Carolina. In addition to singing in choirs, she supported the Greensboro Symphony, the Eastern Music Festival, and the Greensboro Opera Company. She and Dr. Herring were early members of UNCG’s Musical Arts Guild and devotedly supported the School of Music, now part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Betty, however, also enjoyed gardening; her home was surrounded by blooming plants. At UNCG, Dr. Herring saw an opportunity to combine his wife’s two great loves into an everlasting gift: In 1996, while exploring other opportunities for supporting the School of Music, he embarked on the idea of creating a garden to complement the recently-completed Music Building. Dedicated on October 2, 1999, and completed in 2000, the Elizabeth Herring Garden quickly became a cherished hidden wonder on campus.

“It was my hope that the garden would complement and enhance the School of Music and its programs,” said Dr. Herring. “And that in the future, students, faculty, and visitors will find tranquility and inspiration as they enjoy its natural beauty.”

Supported through the Elizabeth Herring Garden Endowed Fund, the Elizabeth Herring Garden boasts a musical design. Emulating a multi-movement musical composition, the garden’s gravel pathway moves through a woodland garden, open lawn, recital terrace, and a rock fountain and reflecting pool. The gravel pathway is punctuated with vines, adding a specific rhythm to the physical space and separating private study areas. Throughout the garden, visitors can find Betty’s own plants, lovingly cared for as living testaments to the joy she found in music and nature.

Nearly 20 years after its dedication, the Elizabeth Herring Garden remains a beautiful focal point for UNCG students, faculty, and staff. In addition to School of Music and College of Visual and Performing Arts’ events, the garden often hosts campus events such as Faculty First and performance receptions. And on any day, you can find students, inspired by its beauty and living music, creating their own compositions.

Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Relations


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P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor