Sculpture, and spirit, of Gladdys Muir
remains on Manchester campus
A bronze bust of peace educator Gladdys Muir, whose spirit of community and peacemaking continues to inspire thought and action at Manchester College and among its alumni, overlooks students studying in the new College Union.
The College will dedicate the life-size sculpture at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26 – almost 60 years after Muir inaugurated the world’s first peace studies program on the Manchester campus.
One of Muir’s students, former North Manchester resident Paula K. Adams, created the sculpture about 10 years ago for a Manchester College class. (While a novice, she had considerable experience with “snow sculpting.” Those who see the bust will say she also has a talent for clay.) When she and local physician Parks Adams moved to Oregon two years ago, she could not bring herself to take the bust. “This is where it belongs,” she declared.
Muir developed the world’s first peace studies program at Manchester in 1947, based on her “Proposal” for peace studies programs at all Brethren colleges, where sentiment for peace is strong. As it did 60 years ago, Manchester’s peace studies program draws from many disciplines – history, philosophy, the sciences, economics, psychology, and more – woven into a fabric warm with community, fellowship and service.
In her 11 years at the College, Muir changed the lives of more than 275 of her own students, in class, with her “peace teas” for students and for years afterward retaining the ties with lengthy newsletters. She died in 1967 at the age of 72.
Artist Paula Adams treasures her former teacher’s newsletters and still feels her spirit, remarking with enthusiasm, “She was unforgettable!” Adams, a 1955 grad, was a marriage and family counselor in North Manchester and co-founder of The Monitor weekly newspaper. She also taught fifth grade and high school English.
Plowshares, a collaboration of Earlham, Goshen and Manchester colleges, financed the bronze casting. For more about peace studies at Manchester College, visit www.manchester.edu