By Shakira Braxton
Rock Jones announced a $75 thousand surprise gift in October, donated by an OWU alum’s family to serve as a space for meditation.
In late October, OWU students were informed that the university received a gift of a labyrinth. The labyrinth is a surprise gift donated by the husband of Kathe Rhinesmith, class of ‘64.
Rhinesmith not only graduated from OWU, but has also served on the Board of Trustees since 1999, and has acted as chair of both the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Board.
“This gift was Kathe’s husband’s idea and not one which we solicited. He is making it to honor her long-standing commitment to OWU and the significance of labyrinths in her life,” said Colleen Garland, Vice President of University Advancement.
When asked about the gift and other areas of OWU the money could be contributed to Garland said money from donations can only be utilized for the donor’s vision.
“The gift is not one which could be redirected to other purposes and it will cover the entire construction costs so that no OWU funds will be used,” Garland said.
“However, it’s important to note that the family does support the OWU Fund every year which helps students directly.”
The Labyrinth is expected to be completed by May, just in time for Alumni Weekend and commencement.
The labyrinth is suspected to add a nice additional aesthetic to OWU’s 200 acre campus; but the right place has not yet been finalized. However, the north side of Merrick Hall along the Delaware run has been suggested as a promising location for the labyrinth.
Studies of labyrinths have show effectiveness in reducing anxiety, and have also have been referred to as a “prayer/meditation walk,” reported Dr. Hebert Benson, founder of Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
A labyrinth is an innovative structure to use as a meditation area on a college campus. OWU will not be the first university to introduce a labyrinth on campus, but will be amongst a select few.
“We all benefit from quiet places where we can withdraw from the noise and activity of daily life for quiet reflection and renewal of the inner spirit,” said President Rock Jones.
“A labyrinth is such a place.”