Last Friday was a gathering for an event I won’t soon forget. After 41 years, Walt Bubelis is retiring from full time teaching at Edmonds Community College’s horticulture department. He basically started it from the very beginning and helped spearhead it as one of the best horticultural programs in the region.
I’m trying to remember how I was introduced to Walt as I ran into so many people I knew that night. The lobby of Brier Hall was decorated with fresh flowers and plant material from various home gardens and a remarkable diversity of food. It was also inundated with colleagues, fellow faculty, Walt’s family, friends, and most remarkably, so many of his former/current students all there to honor and reminisce about not only an instructor, but a nurturing mentor to so many people.
Walt is certainly one of a kind. He excelled as an instructor, but what really sets him apart from everyone else is his humble quality and faith in every student who is eager and willing to be challenged and learn. He genuinely cares about his work and his pupils. Many big names in Pacific NW Horticulture worked under Walt’s tutelage. The most famous probably being plant explorer, Dan Hinkley.
We were asked to write down our “favorite Walt moment” for a scrap book and after touching words and an emotional ovation after his speech, he created a moment for me as I never was a student of his, but to see everyone stand, applaud and hold back tears as he graciously acknowledged everyone in attendance and even those who weren’t able to make it, I looked up in admiration and my own eyes began to fill up as I witnessed a brilliant man be acknowledged for his dedication and passion for what he loves most.
I am in debt to this man for taking my career to another level by asking me to teach at Edmonds and believing in my abilities to share my knowledge, experience and love for plants and horticulture.
My sincerest best wishes for all of his future endeavors.
BTW, A Horticulture scholarship will be established in Bubelis' name through the Edmonds Community College Foundation. To contribute, call 425.640.1274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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