By GALEN HAWES
ADA – The East Central University Foundation honored Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya, longtime Languages professor and Global Education director, by dedicating a commemorative bench in her name on September 4.
“The bench dedication was really a surprise, because I thought that the benches were only dedicated to retired professors, not those still teaching,” said Sukholutskaya. “I feel honored and I am humbled by this.”
Sukholutskaya wasn’t sure many could come to the dedication because of Covid-19 concerns, but around 50 people attended the afternoon event including family, friends, colleagues and former and current students. Several in attendance traveled from out of state to pay their respects.
“I was able to visit with colleagues that I have previously worked with and I enjoyed talking with them immensely,” said Sukholutskaya. “It makes me feel good that we still have normal lives and memories outside of the virus. We need positive moments like this to stop the constant worry. We must have hope that things will get better and that our community will grow stronger.”
Sukholutskaya has been a professor at ECU for close to 30 years and, to date, is the only Languages instructor to enjoy a bench dedication. A native of Ukraine, she owns an amazing treasure trove of memories and experiences from her time on the ECU campus.
“One of my favorite memories is when I was able to bring [former Soviet President] Mikhail Gorbachev to the campus,” she said. “The University and the Ada community worked together to raise funds and provide Oklahoma hospitality to him as a dignitary.”
ECU’s commemorative benches are located around the Tiger water fountain that sits directly in front of Science Hall.
Cutline: Longtime ECU professor Mara Sukholutskaya, fourth from left, poses with some of the attendees at her commemorative bench dedication ceremony.