University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

September 17, 2004


Alumnus' Gift of Gardens Offers Respite for UW-RF Student

Students have a peaceful place for study and relaxation with the new Dahlka Gardens, established by the late Dennis Dahlka, a 1977 alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Behind the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building, the gardens include benches and a walking path intertwined among beautifully landscaped plants and limestone boulders.


A standing sculpture and plaque will be unveiled at s dedication ceremony for the Dahlka Gardens on 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. Dahlka's family plan to attend the dedication.

The Dahlka Gardens were established through part of a $464,000 donation by Dahlka and are the result of careful planning by UW-RF Facilities Management and Dahlka's sister, Diane Hoag, of Osceola. The donation also funds a scholarship in Dahlka's name.

According to Bill Rost, assistant chancellor for University Advancement, UW-River Falls was very important to Dahlka. The garden represents diversity, an important campus concept, with ornamental prairie grasses, perennials and pines, said Rost. "What he wanted to do was to have an impact as much as the University had on him," Rost said.

Hoag believes the gardens can be a "living classroom" for students studying horticulture, but all students can enjoy the relaxing, outdoor lounge. The gardens are not just a natural study room but a great place to meet with friends, read, eat or catch some rays.

The Dahlka Gardens are the only irrigated area on campus and are larger than all other campus garden areas combined. A local landscaping company, Earthworks, designed the gardens.

Hoag, who visited the Dahlka Gardens earlier this summer, said she knew a living sculpture like the garden would best remember Dennis. "When I saw the garden I immediately felt Dennis' presence," Hoag said.

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