|New Labyrinth Designed to Enhance Tranquility of Hobart Park
February 20, 2009
By Jennifer Crowley '09
There’s a new landmark on Davidson’s campus. Tucked into Hobart Park is a permanent, outdoor labyrinth. The 30-foot-diameter spiral walking course is made of white and red pavers, designed as a near-replica of the famous labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France.
|The labyrinth in the final phase of construction.|
Its formal dedication on Monday, February 23, at 5 p.m. will be a joyous occasion for the many individuals who have been involved with the project, especially senior Studio Art major Lauren Cunningham. More than a year ago Cunningham read about the experience of walking a labyrinth in the book Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World, and thought, “Davidson needs one of these!”
In Davidson’s challenging academic environment, Cunningham felt that a labyrinth could offer students, faculty, and staff a place to retreat, relax, and focus on the spirit and mind. “That type of meditative tool sounded very useful,” Cunningham recalled.
Cunningham set out to make her vision a reality, first by receiving approval from college officials to form a committee. After investigating six potential sites on campus, the Labyrinth Committee selected Hobart Park as the ideal location because it is central to campus, conducive to meditation, and large enough to accommodate the labyrinth. David Holthouser, Director of Facilities and Engineering and a member of the Labyrinth Committee, commented, “The park suited the goals and function perfectly. Hobart Park has always been a quiet, reverent, out-of-the-way space, and the location of a labyrinth there will invite those seeking solitude to discover the park anew.”
Many people confuse labyrinths with mazes. Committee member Chelsea Henderson ’09 noted, “A labyrinth is not a maze. It is a single path on the ground. The walker begins and ends at the same point, after journeying to the labyrinth’s center and back.” College Chaplain Rob Spach pointed out that the purpose of a maze is to get lost, while no one can get lost in a labyrinth. He said, “There is no stress of making decisions.”
Cunningham added that the labyrinth also reflects Davidson’s commitment to interdisciplinary education because of its academic value for multiple disciplines. For example, art history majors can study the labyrinth’s design, while math majors can study its geometry. “The labyrinth is an educational and meditative tool,” said Cunningham.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.# # #
Posted By: Bill Giduz