The Robert L. Patrick Endowment Fund has been established at Haywood Community College by the late Patrick’s friend and former wife, LaVerne Schultz. Patrick, a supporter of the college, requested the endowment to help maintain the college’s Dahlia Garden, other campus gardens, and the natural water sources of the campus. In addition, the endowment will support student needs under the Horticulture and Natural Resources curriculum including scholarships. Along with HCC, Patrick’s estate is supporting two other colleges both of which are in Florida.

“We are so grateful that Mr. Patrick’s love of Western North Carolina and the HCC campus led him to want to support the gardens, especially the Dahlia Garden, and the Horticulture students,” says Sherri Myers, HCC Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. “Because of the flexibility of his gift, we will be able to fill the greatest need, whether beautifying the grounds or awarding scholarships. His thoughtfulness will be appreciated well into the future.”

Patrick was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. As a young man, he moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. He worked for Progress Energy (formerly Florida Power) in the distribution department. He later moved to Leesburg, Florida. He retired from Progress Energy in 1992 after 38 years of employment.

Patrick had a great love for the mountains of North Carolina where he spent many vacations camping and hiking. After retiring, he bought a home in Maggie Valley spending six months in Haywood County and six months boating in Leesburg. Patrick loved to go to all the festivals in Maggie Valley and Waynesville and the Labor Day weekend at Lake Junaluska for the Folk Festival. A special trip for him was to Cataloochee. Patrick delighted in driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and often drove it from Maggie Valley to Waynesville. He passed away in June 2009.

Another of Patrick’s favorite places to visit was HCC. He was a great photographer and his albums are filled with pictures of the Mill Pond, water wheel, and the beautiful gardens, especially the Dahlia Garden. Several trips a year were made to the college. In memory of Patrick, the new endowment fund will serve as a lasting tribute to the vision and commitment he had of HCC and its Dahlia Garden.

Because of his love for the HCC campus, Patrick wanted to provide support for the care, maintenance, and longevity of the college’s Dahlia Garden and other campus gardens. Through this endowment fund, this will be possible. Additionally, the fund will support the Horticulture Program including ongoing projects, equipment, and supplies, and enable maintenance and enhancement of the natural water sources on the college campus including water retention strategies such as the wetlands, the rain gardens, the Mill Pond and creeks.