Students, alumni, and members of the Barton Community gathered under a tent on Saturday, Oct. 24, for the dedication of the Aileen and Bill Parish Entrance Plaza at Howard Chapel.

The dedication took place during Barton College’s 2015 Homecoming Weekend was held Oct. 23-26. Bill Parish, her husband and daughters, Tricia Parish and Phyllis Parish Howard, gathered with family members, friends, and fellow alumni to dedicate the plaza that honors this couple who served Atlantic Christian College/ Barton College together for 61 years.

Anytime the doors were open for an alumni event, the Parishes were there.

Aileen Parish faithfully served the college as an alumna representative on the College’s Board of Trustees and the Alumni Board, and the couple supported numerous capital and project campaigns as well as establishing scholarships that will continue to impact Barton students, said Kathy Daughety director of Public Relations at the college.

Aileen and Bill Parish Plaza.

Both daughters attended Atlantic Christian College to complete their baccalaureate degrees and Phyllis Parish Howard served a number of years as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees.

In opening remarks, Dr. Douglas Searcy, Barton College president, said, “Today’s event honors the legacy of Aileen Parish and, while honoring her, we will recognize the long-standing and continuing support of her husband William Walter Parish and their daughters, Phyllis Parish Howard and Tricia Parish. We believe Aileen would be pleased about creating a beautiful place for students to gather for fellowship, meditation, and reflection.”

During the dedication, Phyllis Parish Howard said that her family’s roots run deep at Barton. Her great-grandfather John James Harper, was the second president of Atlantic Christian College/Barton College. His great aunts Merti and Fannie Harper were the college librarian and mathematics professor. Her mother’s relative Archie Reel attended Atlantic Christian College in the 1920s.

Phyllis Parish Howard shared a few special stories of her parents and ended her reflections by adding that their family “believes the Aileen and Bill Parish Plaza will provide a place to gather, to share idea, to build relationships, to grow closer to God. We thank you for being with us today for the plaza dedication and for the celebration of the Aileen and Bill’s loving legacy for the College. May their love surround people who gather here and live on through generations of Barton students, faculty, and staff.”

Dr. Rodney A. Werline, religion and philosophy professor, and the Leman and Marie Barnhill Endowed Chair in Religious Studies, said a prayer of dedication for the plaza.

“The new commons area has already become a favorite spot on campus for students to gather. The plaza provides a welcoming venue for scheduling outdoor programs and activities” said Daughtey

The Aileen and Bill Parish Plaza located outside of the entrance of Howard Chapel and is a place where students can hangout with fi between classes. The Aileen and Bill Parish Plaza offers views of center campus and bell tower.

The Aileen and Bill Parish Plaza was part of the first phase in the ongoing Howard Chapel renovations.

By Jessica Pate
Staff Writer