University of Delaware physical therapy students, faculty and staff dedicated the new labyrinth at STAR campus to UD’s anatomical donors during a moving ceremony on Monday, Sept. 23. Nearly 150 people attended the event, including community members, faculty, students and staff from the College of Health Sciences.
The idea for the labyrinth came from graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program’s Class of 2018, who wanted to show their gratitude to the “silent teachers” who played an integral part in their education.
Dan Chapman, DPT18, who is currently an orthopedic resident in the Delaware Physical Therapy Clinic, said the students organized a memorial ceremony to honor the donors, but also wanted to go one step further. He approached department faculty with the idea of a permanent memorial – a space where students, faculty, staff and the community could reflect on life.
“A labyrinth was chosen because it promotes the concept of balance and the understanding of dangers to one’s community when balance is not achieved,” Chapman said during the dedication ceremony. “The quiet and peaceful journey of the labyrinth represents the journey inward to one’s true self and back again into the world. What better way to serve our community than establishing a permanent memorial that not only honors but also serves the students and community around us.”
The hardscape labyrinth is located in front of the curved glass on the north end of the Health Sciences Complex, 540 S. College Avenue.
“Every day we walk into the building, past this labyrinth, it helps us to remember what’s important,” said Ellen Wruble, DPT program director. “It helps us remember our community. It helps us remember our friends and our family. And it helps us continue to strive to be the best we can be and to make those people proud who contributed to it.”
“The whole idea that that this came from the students with a real intention and a real purpose grounds this whole site in what our purpose is, and that is to improve the healthcare and health of all Delawareans and the nation,” said Dean Kathleen S. Matt. “When you see the heart of the students, you know the future is in good hands.”
Sikora Wells Appel designed the project, which is surrounded by lush plantings by Moon Landscaping. Bancroft Construction served as construction manager. Funding was through the College of Health Sciences and donations. DelleDonne & Associates will maintain the labyrinth.
Visitors to the labyrinth are asked to park in the patient/visitor parking spaces in the lot next to the building.