FAR LEFT: Philosophy and art major
Kate Brelje '11 and peace studies intern Samantha Carwile '10 stroll a path in Muir Peace Garden. Carwile, as current peace studies intern, resides in Peace House on the garden grounds.
IT'S A CLEAR, WARM DAY in Muir Peace Garden. Birds are chirping, squirrels are scurrying, water is splashing and vibrant flowers are carrying visitors to tranquility and inspiration.
The gardens remember Professor Gladdys E. Muir, who developed the nation's first peace studies program at Manchester in 1948, based on her Proposal that all Brethren colleges offer formal study about international conflict and resolution.
"If we do our job well," she wrote, "there will be many whose names the world will never hear, but who will be working quietly and patiently in school rooms, in churches, and in many other types of community service, laying the foundations of peace in many needy places."
The garden "is a physical representation of the Brethren philosophy of peace and justice," says President Emeritus Parker G. Marden, who helped shepherd funding and creation of the Muir Peace Garden in 2001 with Dr. Tim McElwee '78, former vice president for college advancement, and the late Dr. Ken Brown, professor emeritus of peace studies and philosophy and director of the peace studies program.
The gardens are the design of MC history major Daniel W. Krall '68, associate professor of landscape architecture at Cornell University, who served three years in the Peace Corps.
A stroll through the grounds is a catalyst for focusing on dreams, class assignments and life goals, says communication studies major Julia
Largent '11, who finds "renewed energy" from visits to the sunken grounds at the corner of Wayne Street and College Avenue. "It's my ideal location, where I find comfort on a bench near the back path and read a book in a quiet atmosphere with little distractions."
The circuitous route of the garden path is intentional, with "dead-end" branches that represent the challenges of peacemaking. The gentle slopes and perennials reflect Professor Muir's compassionate spirit encouraging mediation.
"As a student, I enjoyed the Peace Garden because it served as a haven of serenity," says Samantha Carwile '10, who resides in the adjoining Peace House as Manchester's current peace studies intern. "The Peace Garden is a relaxing venue to escape the dorm, library, Union and other populous locations on campus."
Peace House, built in 1929, was the family home of Ralph and Vinna Rarick, who rented the vacant land from the College and took special care of the landscape, planting trees and flowers. Their daughters, Elvera Byrket of Elkhart, Ind., and Kathy Rarick '49 Prior of San Diego, Calif., try to visit the gardens annually and support endowments for the gardens and the Peace Studies faculty chair.
A wall of plaques in the garden honors individuals who have made significant personal sacrifices to improve the world. The names are both familiar and not-so-familiar: Gladdys Muir; Dan West '17, founder of Heifer International relief organization; Mohandas Gandhi; Martin Luther King Jr.; Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement; Phil '69 and Louise Baldwin '69 Rieman, local pastors deeply committed to nonviolence. During Homecoming 2010, another plaque was dedicated, honoring Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, assassinated in 1980 for his criticisms of poverty and social injustice.
BY WILLIAM A. KALLAS '12