To commemorate the 50th anniversary of our graduation, the USAFA class of 1972 will be joining the classes of 1975 and 1976 to raise contributions to help restore the USAFA Air Gardens to their original iconic grandeur.
To date, we have been able to raise $840,000 to towards our goal of $1M ….we just need another $160K. The generosity of our Classmates has been overwhelming. We are asking you to join with us to help push us over the top!!!
We realize each of us have different life circumstances, so when we ask for your support, we are mindful of that. If it would be possible for you to at least commit to a 5-year monthly contribution of $72 yearly contribution ($864 annually), I’m confident your contribution, along with others, will make the difference. However, any contribution you can make will be greatly appreciated. For your awareness, we are attaching a list of all our classmates who have contributed to the project.
The renovation project is making tremendous progress and we hope to have it complete by early 2021. In addition, to a dedication at that time, we will plan on a celebration in the Air Gardens honoring the Class of 72 during our 50th reunion.
The Air Gardens as we knew them have vanished. The signature features of the original Air Gardens were the central water concourse paralleled by dense groves of Honey Locust, bookended on either end by the fountains. In 1974, in the final triumph of the Fillers over the Diggers, the water concourse was bulldozed and filled in. The area is now a grass median. An unintended consequence of backfilling the Air Gardens was to compromise the root systems of the locusts. Many if not most of the Honey Locusts are dead or dying. With these key features lost, those who remember would hardly call what remains today “The Air Gardens.”. As a result, no class since 1978 has ever seen the Air Gardens as it was designed or experienced the beauty and inspiration it embodies. Worse, since 1974, lack of attention and resources have accelerated the decline, including slow die-off of much of the trees and landscaping, and crumbling concrete/marble strips. Today, it’s little more than an inefficient terrazzo detour that is seldom walked.
Of course, we know that restoration will not be enough if we simply start the clock on another decline. We don’t want the Fillers to get another crack at this. When completed our Air Gardens must be durable, resilient, maintainable, and affordable. We have learned much in the last forty years. The new design takes advantage of architectural, botanical, and engineering innovations to ensure the Air Gardens remain as fresh as we remember them for generations of cadets yet to come. Most important, the restored Air Gardens will become a showpiece for USAFA’s cadets, families, alumni, and visitors, available for various events and ceremonies. Taking our friends and families through the newly-restored Air Gardens at our 50th reunion will have special meaning for all of us.
Why does the Academy need our help? Although largely funded by states, most public universities have endowments to support their goals and objectives. The same is true of the Air Force Academy. Unfortunately, the military budget has little room for aesthetics. Government funding may provide the minimum, (if the min wasn’t good enough it wouldn’t be the min), but excellence demands more. Funds from the USAFA Endowment provide for the extra margin of excellence that allows the Air Force Academy to stand apart from its peers. To be clear, the Air Gardens restoration will happen through private funding, or it won’t happen at all.
That’s why the Air Gardens Restoration recommends itself as a worthy project that will impact each cadet who comes through the Academy. The original architect’s vision was to balance the beauty of the chapel with another architectural gem, providing an opportunity for quiet, peaceful reflection in an otherwise chaotic life. https://tclf.org/sites/default/files/microsites/kiley-legacy/AirForceAcademy.html. Our class was fortunate to experience the Air Gardens in its original vibrant configuration; and we have the chance to help bring it back to life – a return to an old tradition well worth keeping. While our traditions may not date back as far as West Point or Annapolis, they are no less rich, and no less deserving of honor.
Much of our success in life has been due to our experiences at the Academy that developed our character and value sets along with receiving an outstanding education. This is the time to give back, to honor the Academy’s past, enrich its present, and leave a lasting and meaningful legacy for those who will walk the Air Gardens in the future, a legacy from the class of ’72 that will be memorialized in black granite at the southwest corner of the Air Gardens.
Please note that $840,941 was raised prior to starting this project page. If you gave prior to August 17, 2020 and would like to have your name posted on the Donor Wall, please contact Razelle Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any immediate questions, you may contact the ’72 class gift committee at email@example.com.
’72 Class Gift Committee: Bill Looney (Chair) / Steve Alderman / Brian Binn / Douglas Brower / Buck Buchanan / Jim Herrmann / Chuck Johnson / Skip Morgan / Dave Peterson / Don Sexton