This fall the university community, family and friends celebrated the dedication of the H. Dieter and Mary Elizabeth Hoinkes Plaza. Located between McMurran Hall and Forbes Hall, Hoinkes Plaza includes a Bell Tower featuring the bell from the SS United States, a clock on each of the tower’s four sides and a carillon. The tower’s beautiful Westminster chimes now regale the campus on the hour, half-hour and quarter-hour. Each noon the CNU “Fight Song” can be heard, followed at 5 p.m. by the “Alma Mater,” signaling the close of the day. Hoinkes Plaza also includes an exedra, an elegant stone bench engraved with the names of retired faculty and staff who have contributed immensely to the success of Christopher Newport through the years.
Hoinkes Plaza is named in honor of cherished CNU benefactors H. Dieter and Mary Elizabeth (Mary Lib) Hoinkes, in recognition of their strong generous support. With long and successful careers in public service, representing our nation with distinction, they are a shining example for the young men and women of Christopher Newport. “Being part of the CNU family has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives,” Mary Lib says. “What we have witnessed in the growth of this university over the years is astounding. Everyone who has participated should be deeply proud.”
Mary Lib Hoinkes worked in arms control and environmental protection for over 20 years, most recently serving as general counsel of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and associate legal adviser at the State Department. She earned her law degree from George Washington University, serves on the Council of Foreign Relations and is a former member of the Christopher Newport University Board of Visitors.
Dieter Hoinkes earned a law degree from George Washington University and served 40 years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He ended his service there as deputy administrator for legislative and international affairs. He drafted numerous pieces of legislation that implemented treaties and improved American patent and trademark laws, and represented the United States at a wide array of diplomatic venues.
“Dieter and I are especially glad to have been able to help build this beautiful plaza,” says Mary Lib. “To me the ringing of a bell is an important part of an academic environment. And now the bell, such an important piece of Newport News history, has a home on this gorgeous campus, and the contribution of esteemed faculty and staff who have breathed life into the institution has formal recognition in stone. We are very pleased to have been able to play a part in making this possible.”
The couple has also established the Howard and Elizabeth M. Wahrenbrock endowed merit scholarship in memory of Mary Lib’s parents. It is awarded annually to a deserving student in CNU’s signature President’s Leadership Program.