At a reception Friday, April 28, at 6 p.m. the College officially opened Perry Garden on the site of the former Perry House. Speakers included Dani Cadet ’17, President Kim Cassidy, Trustee Margaret Morrow ‘71, Precious Robinson ’19, and Alexis Wiltshire ’17.
In her invitation to the community, President Cassidy wrote, “Perry Garden honors the generations of students of color who experienced and sustained Perry House as a source of sanctuary, inspiration, friendship, strength, resilience and hope.”
Closed in 2012, Perry House (named after the family from whom it was purchased by the College in 1962) was designated the Black Cultural Center in the 1970s. Over the years, students with the groups BACaSO and Mujeres also lived in Perry.
Dani Cadet ’17 served on the Relaunching Perry House Committee and has been instrumental in preserving and celebrating the legacy of Perry House and its residents.
"Perry Garden provides an excellent opportunity for our community to develop a healthy relationship with our past--one filled with contemplation and healing," says Dani. "At the same time we have the chance to continue the legacy of Perry House through our new space, the Enid Cook '31 Center. We can comfortably move forward without feeling like we have abandoned all that Perry House was spatially and symbolically."
The trees, shrubs and flowers in the garden will bloom and change through seasons and years. They were chosen to reflect colors and plants found in Africa and the Caribbean region, while being mindful of what would thrive in Bryn Mawr's climate. In addition, the flowers represent characteristics associated with Perry House (see sidebar). The original outline of the house is still visible on the site deliberately, so as to not erase, but to continue to acknowledge, the history of Perry and of the College.The garden's exact location on the lot was chosen so that it would be as accessible as possible.
Today, the Enid Cook ’31 Center serves as the Black Cultural Center. Newly renovated and dedicated in Fall 2015, the Enid Cook Center is open to members of Sisterhood, BACaSO, Mujeres, and Zami, as well as to those students who share a cultural background or personally identify with the ideals of the Enid Cook ’31 Center.
A ceremony for alumnae/i will also be held at Reunion on May 27.