April 5, 2004
Peace Corps presents peace pole to Merrill College
Gift recognizes tradition of service among
By Louise Donahue
Dubbed the toughest job youll ever love, the Peace
Corps lived up to its name on Monday as former volunteersincluding
U.S. Rep. Sam Farr--gathered for the unveiling of a peace pole at Merrill
U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, above, a former Peace Corps volunteer, asked
other former volunteers to help unveil the peace pole. Standing
near the pole after the unveiling, below, were Peace Corps Regional
Manager Harris Bostic II and Santa Cruz Mayor Scott Kennedy. Photos:
Campus administrators and government officials touted the programs
ability to bridge cultural divides as the pole was presented by Peace
Corps Regional Manager Harris Bostic II.
The gift honored the tradition of Peace Corps service among UCSC graduates
and the close bond with Merrill
College, where Peace Corps recruiters have been based for 15 years.
More than 500 UCSC graduates have served in the Peace Corps, and the
campus has long provided more volunteers than many much-larger institutions.
Were proud to be one of the highest
contributors to the Peace Corps, but were more proud that
our students hold in their hearts the commitment that the peace pole
represents, said Acting Chancellor Martin M. Chemers.
He acknowledged the inspiration of Professors John Isbister and John
Schechter, whose mentorship of students in the colleges contributes
to this commitment.
As additional examples of UCSC's positive engagement in societal issues,
Chemers also cited the work of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and
Community and the themes of global perspectives at College Nine and
social justice and community at College Ten.
While dean of social sciences, Chemers was instrumental in the development
of Colleges Nine and Ten. Chemers noted that earlier in his career,
he worked with Peace Corps volunteers preparing for duty in Iran.
Rep. Farr reminded the crowd what it was like to join the Peace Corps
in the 1960s, when travel abroad was much less common. To go into
the Peace Corps was an incredible adventure. It was a great time in
Farr said his work with city government in Colombia was crucial in
his decision to enter government service after his return, in order
to petition government to right wrongs. The Peace Corps
is an invaluable resource in helping understand other cultures, he said.
Theres nothing thats going to teach Americans better
about the cultural divide.
Farr asked other former Peace Corps volunteers in attendance to help
him unveil the peace pole, inscribed with May Peace Prevail on
Earth in English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Quechua. Quechua is the
largest Native American language spoken in the Western Hemisphere. The
choice of languages to include was made by Merrill Colleges student
From left, Santa Cruz Mayor Scott Kennedy, Acting Chancellor
Martin M. Chemers, and U.S. Rep. Sam Farr listen as Peace Corps
Regional Manager Harris Bostic II addresses the crowd.
The peace pole will be in good company at UCSC; there is a peace pole
at College Nine and College Ten, and also at Oakes College. The World
Peace Prayer Society estimates that there are more than 200,000
peace poles in 180 countries around the world, designed to serve
as constant reminders for us to visualize and pray for world peace.
Its a wonderful day for Merrill College, said Provost
Schechter, who also served in Colombia in the Peace Corps, and coordinates
the colleges Peace Corps activities. The Peace Corps changed
my life completely, he said, noting that it was because of that
experience that he now teaches Latin American music at UCSC.
Santa Cruz Mayor Scott Kennedy said monuments such as the peace pole
are a reflection of the community that places them. I think the
peace pole is especially fitting for Merrill College, he said.
Adding to the global atmosphere of the outdoor event was the music
of Voces, a Latin American ensemble, which performed before and after
the ceremony. The student ensemble is directed by Diana Nieves.
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