September 15, 2014 | By Jake Weber (photos by David Lawrence) | #CelebrateAlbion on Twitter
Beyond the always popular football game, Albion College’s Community Day 2014—on Saturday, September 13—highlighted President Mauri Ditzler’s interest in strengthening the bonds between College and city. With Mayor Joe Domingo, Ditzler dedicated “Collaboration Corner” at East Michigan and Monroe streets. The park site will remain under the ownership of the Calhoun County Land Bank, with Albion College providing routine maintenance and support.
Gregg Strand, the College’s director of corporate and foundation relations, thanked a number of players in the park’s conception and creation, including city officials, College staff, the Albion Community Foundation, Biggby Coffee (located next door), and a number of College student organizations. He noted that Domingo came up with the name “Collaboration Corner,” and devoted both city and personal resources. “Anybody who likes this should thank Joe,” Strand said.
Domingo remembered the site as a former Clark gas station where he worked as a teenager “when you could drive all night with 50 cents’ worth of gas,” he said. “This corner goes to show you what collaboration can do. This is the beginning of a new era for Albion College, the city, and all its citizens.”
A dozen Albion ministers, along with congregation and community members and the Ditzler family, gathered Saturday evening at Lewis Chapel AME for a Community Blessing Service, ending the festivities centered around Ditzler’s inauguration the day before. At the end of the service, Ditzler was invited to share his vision for a stronger College integration with the community.
Ditzler explained his vision of the College as a resource and partner. If fixing any individual problem was easy, he said, “someone would have done it a long time ago. Those of you who have been here a long time, working on the tough problems, you’re happy that the College wants to help. You know [the challenges] are really hard and you aren’t going to do it without the College—just like we couldn’t do it without you,” he said.
“Things are harder than we all think,” Ditzler concluded, “but they’re possible when we realize how to work together."