By Sol Ayala & Claudia Villeda
Online Media Writer | Online Media Manager
Trevecca’s Walden club, an African American student organization, celebrated the installment of the Walden College historical marker last week on campus.
“This is so much more than just a marker. It’s like an indication that we do belong here. It’s like a beacon of hope – It’s super significant for black students specifically because as a people who had our history robbed from us, these little nuggets, we have to cling on to because this is what we have,” said Howard Dodd, Walden president.
Before Trevecca was in this location, the Hill was home to Walden College, which stood from 1922 to 1925. Although only standing for a few years, Walden College served as an institution that “aimed at providing education to freed slaves.”
Several speakers at the installment service noted that the marker helps people realize that Walden College existed.
Tynaisia Rush, founder of the Walden Club in 2017 and a 2021 graduate, and Brodrick Thomas, previously director of community engagement and reconciliation, returned as speakers for this installment.
Rush spoke about the “lack of black community” at Trevecca during her freshman year but with the help of Thomas and faculty in the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice like Iris Gordon, social justice adjunct professor, and Jamie Casler, social justice director, Rush was able to create Walden for black students.
Rush said she needed a space “to feel included, seen, safe and welcomed” at Trevecca. The name Walden was chosen when she discovered the history on the Hill.
“To bring back the name of Walden meant we needed back certain aspects. Our mission was to create a club designed to build a community among our black students while encouraging leadership, formulating connections and aiding in retention,” said Rush.
Gordon, who is also Walden’s sponsor, reminded attendees of the importance of “commemorating, honoring and celebrating’ the contributions of Walden College to the Nashville and Trevecca communities.
Walden will host another event during Homecoming where further history on Walden will be shared by Steve Hoskins, associate professor of religion, and Erica Hayden, associate professor of history.