The following email was sent to students, faculty, and staff by President Kim Cassidy on May 13, 2016.
For the past few years, our campus, and therefore our community, has been in a period of transition as students moved out of Perry House and awaited the creation and construction of the Enid Cook Center (ECC), which opened this past fall.
While the ECC makes reference to Perry House through the incorporation of some physical elements from the house—such as the floor in the library—and through ECC programming, it does not fully tell nor honor the important story of Perry House and its significance to this community over its history. I am pleased that the College will create a Perry Garden at the site of the original Perry House to make the history of the place and its importance to Bryn Mawr more visible to visitors and the campus community.
A group of students, in conversation with faculty, staff and administrators, prepared the proposal below for the new Perry Garden.
Perry Garden will be a place for reflection and for honoring history/ies on the grounds of the former Perry House. Like the labyrinth, the garden will be open to all—those from the BMC community and those from beyond our borders. All will be welcome to enter in the spirit of reflection, to call on wisdom and understanding, to seek inclusion and to connect with time passing, previous generations and ancestors. Like the labyrinth, Perry Garden will also be the site for a tradition. As the McBrides use the labyrinth to welcome new McBride students, so will students from Africa and the African diaspora use Perry Garden to welcome first years through the Sister Circle tradition. The site will feature a permanent marker/plaque, documenting the history of Perry House and the role it played at Bryn Mawr. Benches and plantings honoring Africa, the Caribbean and this region will welcome those who visit the space.
This proposal has informed the decision to construct the new garden and will guide its planning and development, which began last week and will continue into the fall.
I anticipate that construction of some of the support structures for the garden will begin this summer. Over the next few months, as we gain a better understanding of what type of plantings, materials and elements of Perry House will best work for this site, we will seek your input in making the selections.
I wish to acknowledge and thank all who have contributed to the discussion of the Perry Garden, especially the students and alumnae who have advocated for this space, and I look forward to updating you later this summer.