Center of Reflection

Pat Bishop helps create a quiet retreat for students

The creation of CMU’s Center for 
Reflection, a quiet retreat for members of 
the university community to pray, reflect, or just think, is the result of a perfect storm of interest by community members, students and the CMU administration.

Robert Bray, co-chair of the fundraising efforts, along with Craig Springer, recalls a visit to Notre Dame University several years ago. He was struck by the beauty and serenity of the chapel there. He had wondered often throughout the years why CMU couldn’t also have such a space. Pat Bishop, a long-time supporter of CMU and widow of former State Senator Tillie Bishop, too, had advocated for such a space on the CMU campus for many years. Enter President Tim Foster, who in his many talks with students found they also wanted a quiet place to contemplate, pray or just be alone with their thoughts.

Those forces coalesced to create the striking structure just north of the new Hotel Maverick.

“People need a place to reflect,” Bray said. The fundraising effort was due to kick off in earnest last spring, but was placed on hold. It is underway this fall along with construction of the Center for Reflection. The CMU Foundation with Bray, Bishop and Springer’s help has already raised close to $300,000 of the $500,000 goal with help from a significant lead gift from Pat Bishop.

She is adamant about the purpose of the Center. “It’s for the students. Students should have a place of solitude to go to. I think that is so important,” 
said Bishop.

CMU supporter and former trustee Lena Elliott said she too has long wanted such a space at CMU and she credits Bishop for never giving up on the idea. “I’ve wanted this for years and years,” she said, “and I’m so proud of Pat for making it happen.”

The effort to create a quiet, contemplative space on the CMU campus has had several false starts during the years. Bishop has been involved in all of them, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that the plans crystalized. Construction on what will be one of the most outstanding buildings on campus began late this summer.

“It is not meant to conduct services,” Foster said. 
“It’s just a very comfortable place for anyone who wants to participate in any type of reflection. They 
can do so in this space.” In addition to the indoor space there will be a memorial wall on the grounds where students can hold candlelight vigils or just have a quiet, outdoor space to enjoy.

“At some point during the day or the week, people just need a place they can go sit down and get their thoughts together,” Foster said.

The Center for Reflection will be that place.