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Intercultural Center artist's rendering

Manchester names intercultural center for educator, activist Jean Childs Young 

May Day 1953, Jean Childs and Andrew YoungManchester University President Dave McFadden announced Sept. 16 that Manchester’s future intercultural center at College Avenue and East Street will be named in memory of Manchester alumna educator and activist Jean Childs Young. 

He made the announcement at the site of the future Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center as the University family dedicated a Peace Pole in memory of three international students killed last winter in a traffic accident, Nerad Mangai, Brook “BK” Dagnew and Kirubel Hailu. 

The Peace Pole will remain at the site of the center until construction begins on the new building next year. That facility will include a permanent memorial patio dedicated to the students.

The Peace Pole displays eight languages, one of which is English. All of the others translate to “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” The languages are Amharic, Chinese, Arabic, English, French, German, Igbo and Spanish. It has the inscriptions #3FlyHigh #MUStrong

The new building will feature a permanent display honoring Jean Young. Plans also call for a domed space designed to be used as a focal point for northeast Indiana discussions about diversity and inclusion.

“Jean’s life reflected brightly on our mission to respect the infinite worth of every individual and improve the human condition,” McFadden told alumni in an email early Friday afternoon. She graduated from Manchester in 1954. “A child of the segregated South and a partner in the civil rights movement, Jean’s work dispelled stereotypes and fostered understanding. She built relationships and bridged divides. I can think of no better namesake for our Intercultural Center, a symbol of MU’s commitment to learning from differences.”

Recently, Jean’s husband, Andrew Young, sent McFadden a copy of his book, An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America. In it, he wrote:

“Much of this story is a result of Jean’s study at Manchester. I doubt that it could have happened if I’d married anyone else. Peace and blessings, Andrew Young.

“The note is an amazing testimony to the power of relationships and the ripples of everyday work,” he said.

Jean Childs followed two older sisters to Manchester and earned a degree in elementary education. Weeks after graduating, she married Andrew, who would remain at the side of his close friend Martin Luther King Jr. throughout the civil rights movement. Later, Andrew became a U.S. congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, and mayor of Atlanta.

Jean had a distinguished career as a teacher and an advocate for human rights and children’s welfare. In 1977, President Carter appointed her chair of the U.S. Commission of the International Year of the Child. She also established the Atlanta Task Force on Education, served as co-founder of the Atlanta-Fulton Commission on Children and Youth, and helped develop Atlanta Junior College. 

She served Manchester as a trustee from 1975 to 1979 and received an honorary doctorate from MU in 1980. She died of liver cancer in 1994 at the age of 61.

“We thank the Young family for their generous donation that is starting this process,” said Melanie Harmon, vice president of Advancement for the University.

Anyone interested in supporting the new intercultural center may contact the Office of Advancement at 260-982-5223 or email giving@manchester.edu.

Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers more than 60 areas of academic study to 1,600 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Athletic Training, a Master of Pharmacogenomics and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy.  Learn more about what’s available at the private, northern Indiana school at http://admissions.manchester.edu/areas-of-study/.

September 2016