MCC celebrates Rose Garden 25th Anniversary

Partnership with Rose Society and volunteers thrives

Six people gather around MCC president Dr. Tammy Robinson who is cutting a small ceremonial cake adorned with rose blossoms. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Rose Garden at Mesa Community College are (l to r) LeRoy Brady, garden architect; Mesa City Councilmember Julie Spilsbury; former MCC President Larry Christiansen; MCC President Tammy Robinson; Jaren Langkilde, president/CEO HonorHealth Foundation; Diana Sommers, president of the American Rose Society; and Peter Conden, Rose Garden executive director and MCC faculty. MESA, Arizona – Jan. 11, 2023 – A celebration was held in December 2022 commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Rose Garden at Mesa Community College. Attending the event were Mesa City Councilmembers; leaders, faculty and staff of Mesa Community College; and officers and volunteers from the American Rose Society and the Mesa-East Valley Rose Society. Those sharing their memories of the establishment of the Rose Garden included Dr. Larry Christensen, former president of MCC; Jared Langkilde, former director of the Rose Garden and current president/CEO of the HonorHealth Foundation; Peter Conden, Rose Garden executive director; and LeRoy Brady, Rose Garden architect.

During the ceremony, Dr. Tammy Robinson, MCC president, applauded the collaboration forged with the rose societies and community volunteers to create such a stunning welcome to campus with the invitation to “Come. Enjoy. Thrive.” More than a conservatory, the Rose Garden is a living lab for kindergarten through college students studying biology, botany, and horticulture as well as the artists who come to paint and create works inspired by nature.

President Robinson also pointed out that The Rose Garden brings global acclaim to the City of Mesa and MCC with rankings among the Best Things to Do in Mesa by sites such as the Canadian adventure travel Treksplorer, Tripadvisors, Vacation Ideas magazine, Yelp and the Japanese travel site Trip 101.

Diana Sommers, American Rose Society President, spoke of the long and colorful history of roses. Fossils of the flower 35 million years old have been found in Europe. Millions of dollars are spent annually on research, growing and selling roses in the United States. Arizona produces more than 75 percent of the country’s rose bushes because its climate allows them to bloom for nearly eight out of 12 months. In 2000, the Rose Garden at MCC was approved by the All-America Rose Selections organization to become one of 26 test gardens, becoming one of the top three AARS Test Gardens in the nation.

On behalf of MCC, Tanya Smith, administrative associate coordinator in the MCC executive office, accepted from the American Rose Society a Presidential Citation given to the Rose Garden “In appreciation and celebration of your supporting roses for 25 years of with the largest garden in the Desert Southwest."

Conden, also co-director of the MCC Arboretum, recognized volunteers who helped found and continue to cultivate the Rose Garden. Among those acknowledged for their service were Helen Baird, LeRoy Brady, Marylou Coffman, Carole Holkenbrink, Mike Jepsen and Steve Sheard. He also acknowledged Mike Cryer for his work as the volunteer coordinator for nearly two decades.

The celebration finale included the presentation of a plaque commemorating the 25th Anniversary and speakers and dignitaries joining MCC President Robinson for the cake cutting.

Open to the public, the best months to visit the Rose Garden are April through June and October through December when the roses are in full bloom. The largest public rose garden in the Desert Southwest, the Rose Garden is part of MCC’s 140-acre arboretum, the first in Arizona to earn accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum. MCC is the only community college in Arizona to be named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, 480-461-7892,

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 25,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations through a combination of modalities. MCC is transforming how it champions student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution with nearly 50% of its students being the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges; its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes as well as out-of-state tribes. The diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) --

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Wednesday, January 11, 2023