Island University Celebrates Diversity and Unity with Peace Pole Dedication

By Luisa Buttler | Published: February 08, 2019

Island University Celebrates Diversity and Unity with Peace Pole Dedication

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – University campuses are more than just a place of learning – they are a place of self-discovery, pushing boundaries, and making life-long connections with people from different corners of the map. This spirit of unity, as well as diversity, was celebrated during the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Peace Pole Dedication as student leaders from a variety of Islander clubs, along with campus representatives and members of South Texas Rotary District 5930 joined together to commemorate the pole’s permanent placement on campus.

The Peace Pole, gifted to the Island University by Rotary District 5930, features the phrase “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight different languages, plus Braille. The languages were selected based on the native languages of the most populous groups on campus and include Arabic, English, German, Hindi, Mandarin, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. The Peace Pole is a white multi-sided post that stands nearly 8-feet-tall and is centrally located near the University Center – between the East Lawn and Anchor Plaza.

“This Peace Pole serves as a beacon for deep discussion and the strong hope of all who gather around it,” said Dr. Kelly M. Quintanilla, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi President. “As Islanders, we strive to not only appreciate our commonalities, but to rejoice in our differences. It is my sincere hope that this pole will be a display of the respect and acceptance we have for each other – leading the way for our communities, our state, our nation, and our world.”

Dr. Marilyn Spencer, retired professor and department chair of economics at A&M-Corpus Christi, and past district governor for Rotary District 5930, led the force bringing the Peace Pole to the Island University.

“I’m so excited to be back on campus for this dedication,” said Spencer, who currently serves as Rotary District 5930’s peace chair. “Peace is an opportunity for boy and girls, men and women, to enjoy life without fear.”

Kayla Stovall, `17 Islander alumna, Rotary Global Scholar, and A&M-Corpus Christi Coordinator of Prevention Programs, attended the Peace Pole ceremony. Stovall has been involved with Rotary since she was 15-years-old, and joined Rotaract, the collegiate arm of Rotary, when she started school at A&M-Corpus Christi. Rotary sponsored Stovall’s 2015 medical mission to Costa Rica; and in 2017, Rotary fully-funded Stovall’s Master of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh.

“For me, peace means harmony – for today and for the future,” said Stovall. “This pole represents so much to me, not just because of what Rotary has done for me personally, but for what they have done internationally to promote peace and conflict resolution.”

Peace Poles were first constructed in Japan in 1955 and since then, more than 200,000 have been placed around the world in nearly 200 countries.

“The phrase ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ celebrates diversity, yet oneness in strength,” said Andrew Hagan, Rotary District 5930 District Governor. “This phrase embodies the mission of this University to foster and teach peaceful ways to resolve conflict, seek equitable solutions to what may seem to be insurmountable challenges, and actively engage in initiatives emphasizing the importance of our humanitarian service with a purpose.”

The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi student body is comprised of students from 51 different nations and 48 states.

“Our students are here to find solutions to world problems, learn how to be leaders, and make an Islander Impact,” Quintanilla concluded. “This pole is going to be a popular gathering place and also a visible symbol and a daily reminder of the values of our great institution.”

At the end of the Peace Pole dedication ceremony, attendees locked arms and sang “Let there be Peace on Earth,” in a moving tribute to the part each individual plays in the promotion of peace throughout the world.