Walsh Kicks-Off 60th Anniversary with Dedication of Founders Plaza

An event commemorating Walsh’s Founders, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, was an appropriate way to officially kick-off the University’s 60th Anniversary Celebration with the dedication of the new Founders Plaza on Monday, November 16. This walkable entrance to campus will serve as a physical reminder of the Brothers’ legacy for future generations of Walsh students. The Brothers of Christian Instruction officially opened the doors of Walsh University on November 17, 1960.

With a limited number of members in attendance due to COVID-19 safety procedures, the dedication event was recorded to be shared with the community. The ceremony included remarks by Walsh President Dr. Tim Collins, Mayor of the City of North Canton the Honorable Stephan Wilder, Rev. Thomas Cebula and Br. Chrysostom Ahimbisibwe, representing the Brothers of Christian Instruction. Mayer Wilder presented the University with a formal proclamation and named November 17 as Walsh University Day. Following the blessing of the Plaza, the Walsh Chamber Singers sang Anime de l’Amour  (Animated by Love), in honor of the Brothers of Christian Instruction.   

“Guided by the Holy Spirit, our seven founding Brothers, following in the footsteps of their founders, knew to their core that God would, grant the increase. And as we see behind us … He is always faithful to us – for the choice to accept that mission is not less important than the choice by God to call them to it,” said President Dr. Tim Collins during his address. “Here is the message of our founders and the mission of this Founders Plaza: look here and believe! We offer our gratitude to the congregation of the Brothers of Christian instruction, who not only dreamed this institution into existence but also who provided support for this Founders Plaza with this remarkable statue.”

Click here to read President Tim Collins remarks in their entirety.  

Located on the site of the former BP Gas Station at the corner of Market Street and East Maple, the Plaza includes a clock tower, historical markers and the newly restored Brothers of Christian Instruction statue donated by the Canadian Province. The statue depicts the educational foundation of the F.I.C. with Founder Father Jean-Marie de la Mennais entrusting the care of a young student to his successor, Reverend Brother Cyprien Chevreau, first Superior General of the Congregation after the Founders’ death.

About the F.I.C. Statue

To commemorate the centenary of the death of Father Jean-Marie de la Mennais (1780-1860), founder of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, Brother Paul Leclaire, Provincial Superior in Dolbeau, Quebec, Canada, hired the services of the renowned Italian artist Guido Casini of Montreal, working for Barsetti-Manucci. Three identical copies of the same work were created and installed in the three Districts of the Brothers in the eastern part of the Province of Quebec: Pointe-du-Lac, Dolbeau and Saint-Romuals. The blessing of the monuments took place in August 1961.

The white faux-marble monument depicts three figures, the largest of which is 8 feet tall. We see Father de la Mennais entrusting the charge of a student to a Brother to whom the artist has given the very recognizable features of Reverend Brother Cyprien Chevreau, first Superior General of the Congregation after the Founder’s death.

When Juvénat Saint-Jean of Dolbeau closed its doors in July 2016, this monument, after having adorned the main lane in the grove for 55 years, was donated by the Brothers of North America to Walsh University, North Canton, OH, that the transmission of the Mennaisian spirit would endure beyond distance and time.

Thank you to our donors who made this landmark possible:

  • Belden Brick Company Charitable Trust
  • Brothers of Christian Instruction
  • Campbell Oil Company
  • Mr. & Mrs. Frank D'Angelo
  • Mr. & Mrs. Roger DeVille
  • Mr. William J. Lemmon
  • Mr. & Mrs. Theodore V. Swaldo
  • Drs. Michael L. & Julie M. Thomas
  • Women's Committee Of Walsh University
  • Mr. & Mrs. Carl H. Young
  • Walsh University Alumni Association