Marymount University Arlington recently completed a new building named the Ballston Center which is a dedicated academic center and houses many related services: the new Ballston Chapel, a superbly designed Lecture Hall, classrooms and faculty offices, “Eats” the onsite food service, Starbucks, and most significantly a Gallery for artistic displays of many types. In honor of RSHM Sister Irene Cody, the Marymount Arlington Board and its donors decided to dedicate this area as the “Cody Gallery”. It is placed in a highly accessible area at the front entrance on Glebe Road, which is important as the University continues to serve the local Arlington community. The Cody Gallery itself provides a grand display site for the works and interests of not only the students and faculty, but also a resource to serve local persons whose works need to be shared and recognized.
Sr. Irene was asked to extend invitations to her family, friends, and a broad range of her contacts both on and off campus, including our brothers and long term spiritual associates – the Missionhurst (CICM) Community, the Youth Apostles, the current Campus Ministers and many other individuals many of whom continue to share what Marymount offers: hospitality, a special space for worship and a strong Catholic and RSHM tradition of communication, gentleness, and welcome which Sr. Irene embodied so well, often using her capacity for Spanish.
Sr. Irene’s family was totally ecstatic with the site, the greetings, and the personal honor extended to her, their aunt. During the mini-tour on the day Sr. Irene arrived, I escorted her around the campus and “meeting and greeting” was always a personal and heartfelt sharing with all whom she met.
I believe the words on the dedication plaque are most representative of Sr. Irene’s many years here and the impact of her life and example:
“… In recognition of Sr. Irene Cody, RSHM, who served here in numerous capacities for nearly forty years; most notable, her work to create and lead programs and services to international students has greatly enriched the Marymount Community, while impacting the lives of countless students. Marymount University and our Board of Trustees are incredibly grateful for Sr. Irene’s dedicated service.”
Dr. Matthew Shank, PhD, President and Dr. Edward Bershoff, PhD, Chair, opened the ceremony and extended the honor in the presence of the Board members, the RSHM, and guests of the honoree. Sr. Irene’s response captures so much of the intent of MU’s Catholic identity and the sense of community service: “It is my fervent hope that the students, faculty, staff, and nearby neighbors on the Ballston Corridor will be attracted to the Gallery. Furthermore, since it is METRO accessible, visitors from Arlington and Washington, D.C. will be drawn to our newest campus and be pleased to view work by regional, national, and international artists. With all my thanks…”
For sure, this was one of the most joyful and happy occasions ever celebrated in the University’s setting. Many thanks to all who joined in the wonder of this evening.