SFA building named after 90-year-old advocate opens: New education facility funded entirely with private donations

Published on Saturday, 15 February 2014 21:46 - Written by Kelly Gooch kgooch@tylerpaper.com

For Ina Brundrett, helping others is a part of life.

The 90-year-old has been an advocate for education and a participant in various gardening groups.

Last month, the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building officially opened at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, according to SFA.

The facility “will assist with the development and presentation of environmental education programs year-round, rain or shine,” SFA pledges.

“Ina has served on the SFA Advisory Board for many years and is so thoughtful and generous in all that she does,” Elyce Rodewald, education coordinator for the SFA Gardens, said. “She truly understands how education, opportunities and experiences can change lives. The Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building is a wonderful and sustainable gift to this community.”

“The building was funded entirely through private donations, and Ina was one of those donors. It is really a great honor and responsibility to have that kind of support from our community,” she said.

In addition to the SFA building, there also is the Ina Brundrett Azalea Garden at Tyler Junior College, which, according to the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail brochure, “is dedicated to the education of students and the surrounding community.”

Ms. Brundrett grew up in Beeville and later went to Texas College of Arts and Industries in Kingsville. She was married in 1944 before her husband left to serve in World War II, her daughter, Lynne Maddox, said.

Ms. Brundrett said her mother played a role in her gardening interest.

She “loved to play in the garden. She always had something growing, so I guess I kind of took up some of that,” she said.

As far as education, she said her parents believed that education was important, and sacrificed to send her to college. That belief was passed on to her, she said, and she has tried to promote education.

“I just think it’s important for people to get an education and better themselves,” she added.

But Ms. Brundrett said she is not into getting a lot of publicity for her efforts.

“I don’t do things for notoriety,” she said. “I do things because I see a need, and I can help.”

Her ultimate goal, she said, is for people to receive a good education so they can improve their lives, and she believes education would be to anyone’s advantage if they have the opportunity.

Linda Whetsell, past president of Texas Garden Clubs, said Ms. Brundrett always has been gracious and would share information.

“She’s just a good … down to earth person who has been a friend to many of us, including myself,” she said.

Ms. Whetsell said Ms. Brundrett also loves East Texas, and has emphasized the community being a proper place for raising families and children.