On Sunday, Oct. 15, the Colorado State University campus played host to an extraordinary gathering of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), alumni, faculty and community members to mark the grand opening of the Peace Corps Tribute Garden.
The event, organized by CSU’s Office of International Programs, was a celebration of the visionary stalwart Rams who in 1961 conducted a robust feasibility study which would lay the foundation for what we now know as the Peace Corps.
The Tribute Garden, a serene and contemplative space nestled within the heart of campus, is a poignant reminder of this rich history. It is also a standing testament to the university’s ongoing dedication to promoting international cooperation and understanding.
RPCVs from across the country gathered at CSU to commemorate the occasion. The event included a lineup of distinguished speakers who shared their experiences and insights into the profound impact of the Peace Corps.
Notably, Peace Corps Chief of Operations and Administration Thomas Peng gave a short speech affirming national Peace Corps support for CSU’s role in its founding. Additionally, he encouraged everyone in the audience to consider becoming a volunteer and be part of the Serve Boldly campaign, which welcomes volunteers of all ages and expertise.
Vice Provost for International Affairs Kathleen Fairfax emphasized the university’s pride in the founding of the Peace Corps and the important role of service in CSU’s land-grant mission. “The Peace Corps Tribute Garden is a symbol of CSU’s strong connection to the history, values and future of the Peace Corps,” she remarked.
Also invited to the stage were the family and friends of those legendary CSU Peace Corps titans who the group gathered to honor. Stories were shared of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Maury Albertson and Pauline Birky-Kreutzer, who co-wrote the feasibility study, as well as of John Roberts, whose initial gift and passion launched this garden project many months ago.
Overall, the celebration fostered connections and created a bridge between past, present and future Peace Corps volunteers. It was evident that the Peace Corps experience had left an indelible mark on the lives of those who had served and that its legacy continues to influence and inspire the northern Colorado communities many RPCVs call home.
The day concluded with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially inaugurating the Peace Corps Tribute Garden. Attendees explored the garden and engaged in conversations that transcended borders and cultures.
As the Peace Corps Tribute Garden opens to campus, all are welcome to stroll its circuitous path and contemplate the ideals of global service and understanding on which it was founded.
Learn more about CSU’s longstanding legacy with the Peace Corps at https://international.colostate.edu/peace-corps-legacy/.