President's remarks

Circle of Remembrance

Circle of Remembrance dedication

Welcome and invitation to remember
by President Jim Harder
March 12, 2008

Welcome on this significant day in the life of Bluffton University.  We are pleased that so many of you could be here, that the winter's snow is finally melting, and that the green grass of spring is beginning to show.  Your presence is important to us.  Together we share a bond that will forever connect us with memories of the past, shared experiences and a journey of healing.

As I shared in a letter to many of you, the unanticipated late winter weather that we have all been experiencing means that we still have a few construction details to complete.  Once the ground thaws and supports can be poured, the five benches will be moved back a bit off the sidewalk and closer to the memorial plaques.  As soon as weather allows, additional plantings and landscaping will occur between the benches and elsewhere.  And the permanent bronze casting of Touching Home is scheduled to be completed at the foundry and to be installed by the first of May.  We appreciate your understanding. 

Today, March 12, 2008, is exactly one year since we gathered as a university community in a memorial service to grieve the loss of life that resulted from the terrible bus accident last year on March 2.  This evening, we will once again gather together in Founders Hall to reflect, remember and to affirm our faith in God's ultimate and redeeming grace.  This afternoon, in this quiet and special place, we also gather to dedicate this new part of Bluffton's campus as a Circle of Remembrance for all who visit--today, tomorrow and long into the future.  We have intentionally planned a short, formal program so that there will be time for all of you to come forward and visit the circle.  

Now, in the sprit of remembrance, please join me in prayer:  Eternal and loving God, we continue to struggle to understand the tragic events that have brought us to this place today.  We continue to grieve the loss of Zachary, David, Scott, Cody and Tyler.  We ask for your continued care and comfort. Be with their families and with all of us as we strive to live as you have called us.  Be with us here in this place as we dedicate this Circle of Remembrance which honors the 2007 team and remembers Tyler, Cody, Scott, David and Zachary.  Be with us Lord, today and always.  Amen.