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Dave McFadden at Peace Pole Dedication 2016

“A moment between the past and the future.”

Peace Pole dedicated Sept. 16, 2016Text of comments as prepared by Manchester University President Dave McFadden for delivery Sept. 16, 2016:


Today is a bittersweet day, filled with joy and still tender, even raw, emotions. 

It is good to have with us the families of the three students who died in the accident last year – Kirubel Hailu, Brook Dagnew and Nerad Mangai – but the reason they are with us is a painful one.

We are delighted to see Israel (Tamire) here in North Manchester again. His presence reminds us that many people were hurt by the accident and continue to need our support as they find ways to move forward. 

It is exciting to be together on the ground where we are planning to build a new Intercultural Center.

Those of you who use our current center know that it is … worn out. It provides a place to gather, but it isn’t a great place to be together.

You see on these boards our plans for the new center.

It will include space for students to be together informally and for larger programs involving the University and regional communities, something that is hard to do in our current space. It will include a patio – dedicated to the memory of Kirubel, Brook and Nerad.

The new Intercultural Center will be a $1 million project.

Its location at the intersection of the two streets that define our campus symbolizes that Manchester is an intersection of people from many walks of life. Learning from our differences is at the core of our mission, of who we are.

We will name the new Center the Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center. Jean Childs graduated from Manchester in 1954 and married Andrew Young that summer.  Jean was an activist, educator and a partner in the struggle for civil and human rights. Andrew is a civil rights leader, former Congressman, Mayor of Atlanta, US Ambassador to the United Nations and close friend and colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reverend Young said to me recently “Much of [my] story is a result of Jean’s study at Manchester. I doubt that it could have happened if I’d married anyone else.”

Today we stand in a moment between the past and the future. We grieve and honor Brook, Nerad and Kirubel while looking forward to what we will build in this place.

The peace pole that we dedicate today connects past and future. It expresses our hope that we can each come to a place of peace with the tragedy that brings us together and find our way to peace for all people. And it stands as a marker of hope and expectation of the Center that will be constructed in this place and the learning that will come out of that space.

Thank you for being here today.