Sarah M. Pritchett
Concord University
Office of Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312,

After 4 p.m.
Office: 304-384-5211
Cell: 304-320-6405

April 21, 2021


ATHENS, W.Va. – Two events promoting peace and unity brought various Concord University constituent groups together on the Athens campus the afternoon of April 20. The Unity March and Peace Pole dedication celebrated diversity while encouraging acceptance and mutual respect.

“It shows that we are standing up for peace and solidarity…that we are a peaceful community,” stated Dr. Manjunath Burdekar, assistant professor of Psychology, just moments before he and Concord University President Kendra Boggess led the march through campus.

Dr. Burdekar spearheaded Concord’s efforts and chaired a planning committee consisting of students, campus representatives and community members based on his experience sponsoring Peace Pole projects on other campuses.

The procession of students, faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti officers, community members and University officials started at the Jerry and Jean Beasley Student Center and concluded at the peace monument site located between the Administration Building and the Fine Arts Center. Fellow Concordians joined the marchers there for the Peace Pole dedication ceremony.

Dr. Burdekar explained to the group gathered around the three newly installed Peace Poles that they are  “internationally recognized symbols””.

The words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” are written on them in different languages. Among the 24 languages appearing on Concord’s monument are French, Bulgarian, Hebrew, Swedish, Latin, Cherokee and Spanish.

“These languages represent the diversity that exists on this campus,” Dr. Burdekar said.

The late Sharon Griffee, who was a resident of Athens, was recognized posthumously for her contributions to the project and her commitment to peace. A tree is being planted in her memory on campus at University Point, and one of the 10 trees being planted on the African continent as part of the Peace Pole project will remember her.

Another tree for Africa honors Dr. Elizabeth Roth, who currently teaches English at Concord, and one will also recognize the University.

The Unity March and creation of an event shirt that mirrors the languages and message on the Peace Poles were coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs in fulfillment of the Diversity and Equity grant awarded by the Higher Education Policy Commission in July of last year.

President Boggess supported the project and its mission, and the University Foundation assisted in purchasing the Peace Poles.

“Concord celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion among our students, faculty, and staff. The Peace Poles are a visual reminder that this university is committed to creating an environment where all respectful, individual voices are welcomed,” Dr. Boggess said in an earlier statement.

Concord’s Unity March moves across campus.

Dr. Manjunath Burdekar speaks during the Peace Pole dedication.
President Kendra Boggess, shown to his right, also addressed the gathering.

Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086, if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.

Students, faculty, and staff gathered around the peace poles at Concord University