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Tears of Joy at CMU's Center for Reflection

Long-time project supporter overjoyed with project completion

Tears of joy reflected the depth of emotion that overwhelmed Pat Bishop as she entered the CMU Center for Reflection for the first time. Bishop was among the first supporters to enter the new facility as carpenters placed final touches on the sanctuary just days before students will begin using the center.

Bishop has been an advocate for the Center for Reflection for more than a decade and was often joined by students in communicating a need for space to support spiritual needs of students, faculty and staff. Bishop was joined at the nearly completed sanctuary by project supporters Robert Bray and Craig Springer. The two are leading a community-wide effort in raising funds for the center. CMU President Tim Foster met the three leaders at the center to assess the project and help oversee its completion.

"I'm overwhelmed with joy," said Bishop. "This place is so much more beautiful than I could ever have hoped for. It's just so beautiful and I know that the students will just love it."

The Center for Reflection is a non-denominational, multi-faith center that includes a memorial wall, sanctuary, cosmological star gazing field, reflection gardens and a design aesthetic meant to encourage reflection, meditation, solitude, prayer and or any other activities that allow students solitude and solice.

"This is a place on campus that is not designed for multiple use or with space efficiency as a primary consideration," said Foster. "Students have said they needed a space that allows them to focus on the meaning of their lives. This space accomplishes just that."

Construction began in 2020 and in 2019 CMU hosted a workshop that included students from many clubs, organizations and backgrounds. Among the diversity of thought expressed during that workshop a universal theme emerged. Most students seemed to believe a place free from technology and distraction might be good for pursuing wholeness, mindfulness, and mental and or spiritual wellness.

The committee scheduled the recent tour of the nearly completed project to energize efforts to raise financial support for the center.

"The global pandemic has shown us that connectedness, community and our sense of purpose and meaning are an essential place to put our focus," said Bray. "For those in the community looking to support students and assist them finding and exploring the fundamental meaning in their lives I believe the Center for Reflection is an ideal place to place your support."

Individuals or organizations interested in supporting completion of the Center for Reflection should contact the CMU Foundation. The foundation will host a reception tour and orientation for project supporters in February 2021.


Written by David Ludlam