You could say that Ed Bryant, who 50 years ago pioneered the manufacture and use of paving stones in North American hardscaping, lived with a desire to "pave it forward." When Bryant passed in 2021, his well-known landscape architecture and design company Unilock decided to commemorate his legacy by funding the Unilock Paving the Future Scholarship program.
For the program's inaugural year, Unilock has announced it will award over $100,000 in scholarships to 22 students in the U.S. and Canada, to assist with their education expenses. “In carrying on Ed’s vision of investing in our communities, we are helping build and shape the hardscape industry with the professionals of today – and tomorrow,” said Diane Williams, VP of marketing at Unilock. The high number of scholarship applicants made it tough to choose just 22 winners. Unilock expects to grow the fund to support additional students in future years, cultivating a new generation of landscape design, architecture, and construction leaders.
2 of the 22 winners, Sean Weber and Drew Wildes, are current students in the Stockbridge School's associate degree program in Landscape Contracting.
Each has been awarded a Paving the Future scholarship to help pay their tuition, fees, books, housing, and transportation costs at UMass Amherst.
Weber, who at age 15 was working 40 hours a week doing landscape construction, writes in his application essay that "At a very young age I knew for certain that I would not be working in a cubicle for the rest of my life."
The 2-year Stockbridge program in Landscape Contracting includes a 5-month internship during which students can earn both money and college credit. They graduate with field experience on their resume, and a relationship with at least one employer. Each year, a Stockbridge team of students travels to compete in the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, often coming home with both event trophies and job offers from employers in the industry.
In his essay, Wildes describes the green industries as "a place where I feel an immense amount of joy and pride to be surrounded by so many great people, and to have the most fun you can have at a job."
The Paving the Future scholarship program recognizes students in their final year of study who are active members in their community and demonstrate an ambition of being a thought leader in the landscaping industry of tomorrow.